11 Apr April 11/10 – Letter to the Editor: Ideology vs. reality

Written by Kyle Buott
Sunday, 11 April 2010

Published in the Chronicle Herald on Sunday, April 11, 2010 

Ideology vs. reality

In an April 8 opinion piece, Brett Skinner and Mark Rovere argued that governments should eliminate public Pharmacare plans to “encourage the emergence of a competitive private-sector insurance market.” As always, the Fraser Institute puts its right-wing ideology before reality.
Reality: Competition and insurance don’t mix. Insurance exists because markets fail. Without public Pharmacare plans, millions of seniors, children and cancer patients would not have access to medication.

Reality: Private insurance increases costs. It’s no surprise that the biggest cost-drivers in Canada are in those areas NOT under a public plan — drugs and long-term care.

Reality: “Competitive” insurance means that people with pre-existing conditions will not get coverage.

Reality: Private insurance plans have much higher administrative costs than public plans.

We should create a national Pharmacare program — cost-shared between provinces, the federal government and employers. We could then use bulk-purchasing to drive down costs, ensure equal coverage across the country, increase the proper use of appropriate drugs, and push for patent reform that works for Canadians instead of working for Big Pharma.

Bill Swan, Nova Scotia Citizens Health Care Network