Bernie Sanders is working to lower out-of-control pharmaceutical drug costs in the United States. Why isn’t Canada working to do that too?
News from Ed Broadbent and the Broadbent Institute in Toronto, Ontario
Posted October 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Senator Bernie Sanders, the high-profile former Democratic presidential candidate, is visiting Toronto this weekend to see what his country can learn from Canada’s public healthcare system.
But while Canadians are proud of our public healthcare system, there is one area where Canadians can learn something from Sanders: pharmacare.
Sanders’ recently unveiled Medicare-For-All bill aims to “achieve the goal of universal health care,” something Sanders says is both “morally principled” and “financially responsible.”
Sanders’ proposal “would establish Medicare as the single payer for health care costs in the US,” thereby empowering the American federal government to set prices for health services and negotiate the cost of drugs.
Under Sanders’ plan, no United States citizen would ever pay more than $250 per year out-of-pocket for pharmaceutical drugs.
Canadians, on the other hand, currently pay the second highest drug prices in the world (second only after the United States). Underlining how out-of-control costs have become, a recent analysis by the CBC’s Fifth Estate revealed Canadians are paying 1,200 times what New Zealanders pay for the same Canadian-made drug.
Dr. Danielle Martin, a Canadian doctor who appeared on stage with Sanders as he unveiled his Medicare-For-All bill, says the single biggest problem with Canadian healthcare is its lack of a national pharmacare program:
“It’s because our system was designed in the 1960s when prescription medication was less of a focus of medical care. Today, it’s a cornerstone in the management of chronic disease and I don’t think you can have a well developed universal health care system that doesn’t include prescription medicines.”
Not only would a national pharmacare program improve health outcomes and address barriers to access for lower-income Canadians – it’s cost-effective too.
A report last month from Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office revealed Canadians would save $4.2 billion each year if it established a universal pharmacare program.
Another analysis by CBC’s Fifth Estate found employer-funded private insurance plans have wasted a staggering $15 billion over the last five years “covering the cost of expensive drugs that have cheaper options, as well as paying for unnecessary dispensing fees.”
In addition to drug coverage, Sanders’ plan also proposes to cover a range of health-related benefits under-serviced in Canada, including: mental health, treatment for substance abuse, home care, reproductive and maternity care, as well as vision and dental.
Bernie Sanders in Toronto this Sunday, October 29th at University of Toronto at 11 a.m. Seats for the talk were almost immediately sold out last week, but read on to find out about livestreaming the event from your home.
On Sunday, Oct. 29th, the Broadbent Institute along with our partners the University of Toronto, the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the North American Observatory on Health Systems & Policies, the Wellesley Institute and Women’s College Hospital, is hosting Senator Bernie Sanders at a public talk on “What the U.S. Can Learn from Canadian Health Care.”
Join us to hear him share his thoughts on “Medicare for All” and for a discussion with Dr. Danielle Martin (Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto) on what the U.S. can learn from Canada’s single-payer health care system.
Registration for this event is now full.
We will be livestreaming the entire event. Sign up to receive notice when we begin the livestream, or follow us on Facebook.
For more information on Bernie Sander’s public talk in Toronto and how to watch it at home on your computer, click on – http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/bernie_sanders_is_coming_to_toronto .
For more information, you can click on one or more of the following –
About the Broadbent Institute – The Broadbent Institute is Canada’s leading progressive, independent organization championing change through the promotion of democracy, equality, and sustainability and the training of a new generation of leaders.
We are proud of Canada’s tradition as a diverse, fair, just, and inclusive society. These values matter to us today and they matter to our future. The vast majority of Can…adians share these progressive values.
At the Broadbent Institute, we believe that the progressive principles and collective efforts that have made us who we are as a country can inform new ways of thinking and new approaches to government that equip us to address the challenges facing Canadians.
For more information on the Broadbent Institute and its activities, click on – http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders