Pharmacare changes unacceptable

Published on January 29, 2016

To the Editor,

I have received an unsigned letter from Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare Program, expounding on the residual merits of reducing the costs of the co-payments for many seniors. Why would this letter not be signed by the minister, or at least by the director of Pharmacare.

Let us move to what is not set out in this deceptive letter.

Nowhere does the letter touch upon the fact that 45,000 seniors will have their premium subjected to a 300 per cent increase in premiums. From $424 to $1,200 + 20 per cent co-pay. In the case of married couples this number could easily double to 90,000.

No where does the letter touch upon the fact that the increase will be to "each" in a married couple. Two times a 300 per cent increase. 

The letter is addressed to only one person in the household, leaving out the female gender. 

The letter demands that one supply private information of tax returns from CRA under the threat, that if not allowed to contact CRA to determine income, the premium will automatically go direct to $100 per month, and to $200 per month for married couples. (I quote," Without this information, you will be required to pay the maximum premium of $1,200 per year." End Quote) The intimidation here is quite clear.

None of this has been debated in the legislature. None of this has received Order in Council.

On the six o'clock news of Jan. 25, the deputy minister of health, tried to place the great up swing to this unilateral move by the McNeil government. He stated, “The purpose of this is to get more Seniors enrolled in Pharmacare." I suggest Mr. Deputy Minister and Mr. Premier, you have found a way to chase a great majority of seniors away from this program. It’s reasonable to predict that this is the beginning of the slippery slope to more increases.

Why would one whose medications that total approximately $900 pay $2,400 + additional $180 co-pay, a total of $2580.

It is remarkable how this minister has incurred the wrath of all the direct health care employees, and now the seniors. Mr. Premier, please take a step back and review how this will impact the life span of the present government. Is there a Cabinet shuffle coming? 

This is unacceptable Mr. Premier. It’s because it’s 2015.

Gordon Goodwin, Amherst