Marc-André Gagnon dispels misconceptions about the benefits of private health insurance plans and argues in favour of a universal model for pharmacare.

In its last budget, the Federal Government announced the creation of an Advisory Council for the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The debate is now about what a national drug plan should look like. Should we implement a universal pharmacare plan – a public drug plan that would cover all Canadians in the same way? Or, should we preserve the current patchwork of public-private drug coverage and simply fill in the gaps to cover Canadians who are not able to afford their prescription drugs?

Most health policy experts, as well as the Standing Committee on Health of the House of Commons, support the idea of universal pharmacare because it would be more equitable and efficient than the alternative model. Drug companies, private insurerspharmacy chainsand some patient groups favor a “fill the gaps” approach because they want to preserve existing private plans that offer easier and faster access to expensive medicines.

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