July 18, 2017
Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba NDP leadership candidate Wab Kinew today added his voice to the call by labour organizations for universal drug coverage for all Canadians. And he revealed that a universal pharmacare plan is the first of four pillars of his health policy, which he is rolling out this month.
Labour leaders are calling on the federal and provincial governments to scrap a complex system of provincial drug programs and work together to create a single payer system that would save Canadians billions of dollars every year.
“I am strongly in favour of the plan put forward by labour leaders today, including the Manitoba Federation of Labour,” said Kinew. “Offering everyone the safety of universal drug coverage without a deductible in their way would level the playing field for young people and their parents who aren’t sure how they can afford the medication their kids need, while paying the rent and putting food on the table. A universal pharmacare plan would be a critical part of my approach to help Manitobans get and stay healthy.”
“This approach is in everyone’s best interest. When people are not able to access the drugs they need to be well, we all pay the price of more visits to the emergency room, and greater health problems down the road. Studies have shown that fees as small as $2 are enough to stop some from getting prescription drugs that could prevent small issues from becoming big costs to the system.”
“Instead of reckless cuts to healthcare which will cost our system more long term, Pallister should be looking at innovative approaches like this that will ensure Manitobans have greater access to the drugs they need and can stay healthy. One of the best ways to make healthcare sustainable long term is to offer better drug coverage so people can stay healthy at home. When Manitobans are healthy at home they don’t need to go to the hospital as often.”
Kinew’s leadership campaign already has strong support from organized labour, including endorsements from the Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2085.