(October 14, 2017) Saskatoon, SK — Today, NDP leadership candidate Ryan Meili presented his plan for universal drug coverage in Saskatchewan while vowing to continue to push for a national pharmacare plan. He was joined by NDP Member of Parliament for Saskatoon West Sheri Benson, who spoke in support of his plan and formally endorsed his campaign, and by Betsy Bury, a pioneer in the struggle for medicare and a founder of the Saskatoon Community Clinic.
Meili’s pharmacare plan calls for a formulary of key medications that would be available free of charge to Saskatchewan patients, and outlines cost-saving measures that would render the plan revenue-neutral. Meili cited findings that universal drug coverage would save Canadians over $7 billion in private and public spending, with little or no increase to government budgets.
“In my work as a family doctor, I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen patients forced to choose between buying the medications that will keep them well, and essentials like rent and food.” Meili said. “The lack of coverage is costing us a fortune in immediate and long-term costs.
“We can afford to introduce pharmacare. In fact, we can’t afford not to.”
Saskatoon Member of Parliament Sheri Benson praised the plan as “an important addition to universal healthcare that will not only help improve people’s lives but save Canadians billions of dollars.”
“Ryan has worked tirelessly on the issues that are important to me and to the people of Saskatoon West,” Benson said. “His platform reflects his understanding of the impact that government policy has on people’s health, and represents a positive vision for the future of our province.
“Saskatchewan people are looking for a leader who understands the challenges they are facing. Ryan’s dedication to improving the health of his community illustrates that he is that leader.”