SURREY BOARD OF TRADE REQUEST TO BC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CONFERENCE DELEGATES
The Surrey Board of Trade is asking the BC Chamber of Commerce delegates (chambers of commerce/boards of trade in BC) for their support on a single-payer universal pharmacare program. In the past only the Surrey Board of Trade has continued to instigate change through government advocacy by asking for support on this policy.
“The Surrey Board of Trade hopes that this year during the time of a pandemic, from May 28-29, that the business organizations of BC will finally understand the importance of a single-payer universal pharmacare program to help businesses,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
1. WHY THIS MATTERS NOW? WHY IS IT BEING RE-INTRODUCED AGAIN?
The pandemic has shown that many are left out in the cold when it comes to pharmaceuticals and benefits. No comparable country separates the management of pharmaceuticals from management of the rest of the health system.
2. A FILL IN THE GAPS APPROACH WILL NOT HELP OUR WORKFORCE
A “fill in the gaps” approach will NOT use purchasing power to lower drug costs. A single-payer universal Pharmacare program WILL use purchasing power to lower drug costs. With a single payer system of universal Pharmacare, employers could use the savings to enhance their coverage of other services such as mental health, vision care, dental care, hearing care and physiotherapy.
3. THIS MATTERS TO BUSINESS
The rising cost of benefit plans to business is unacceptable – and the reason is the rising cost of drugs. We need to remove pharmaceuticals from insurance coverage. 1 in 10 adults have costly, chronic needs for prescriptions. Self-employed businesses and employees who have to pay for their own benefit plan costs are severely at risk as well.
4. IT WILL COST LESS
One of the key points about a national Pharmacare program is that it will, indeed, cost less than the current patchwork of public and private plans. This is not just because of reduced administrative costs; indeed, it is the increased purchasing power of a single-payer system that will drive the vast majority of the $5 billion in annual savings that the Hoskins Council estimated the program will save Canadians. Our research with UBC on this indicates that it is not unreasonable to believe the purchasing-power related savings will be $7 billion per year – – so the Hoskins Council estimates can be considered conservative.
5. WHAT THIS MEANS IN THE END
National Pharmacare will mean that employees and businesses no longer have to pay for expensive prescription drug coverage. The average business owner who provides drug benefits would save over $750 annually per employee. The average worker with workplace drug benefits would save over $100 per year in plan premiums. In addition, employees who pay hundreds or thousands of dollars per year in copayments, coinsurance or deductibles for themselves and their families would never pay more than $100 per household per year. No more coinsurance. No more annual or lifetime limits.
6. HOW THIS WOULD OCCUR
A blend of tax increases can be achieved to ensure that the billions of dollars in annual savings are distributed fairly among households and employers.
7. WHY HASN’T THIS BEEN DONE?
Because the billions in savings for all Canadians are losses to the pharmaceutical industry, in particular, and to a lesser extent the insurance industry. It is not that Pharmacare is impossible – indeed, every other country with a universal, public health care system provides universal, public Pharmacare along with it. It is that change means lower profits for one or two very powerful industries. Those industries have opposed universal Pharmacare in Canada with similar intensity to the way they oppose a universal public health care system in the USA.
FULL PROPOSED POLICY MANUAL: https://files.constantcontact. com/23ce0e2c001/6aa5edea-de73- 4cb0-9875-b255bab5f268.pdf