NDP Leader Pitches National Pharmacare in Windsor

Prescription drugs for every Canadian — that's the message NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh brought to Windsor.

The NDP recently held a town hall at the Fogolar Furlan Club in support of a national pharmacare program.

He told the crowd prescription drug coverage is one of the missing links in Canada's Healthcare System.

Singh tells AM800 News the government spent $24-billion on healthcare and drugs for hospitalized Canadians in 2016.

The New Democrat says a Parliamentary Budget Office report shows provinces could actually save $4-billion buying medication for everyone.

Singh says there would be costs up front — but if Canada had "the courage" to follow through — negotiating a price as a country would benefit everyone and save billions of dollars.

"If we reorganize that same money that we're spending with the buying power of 35-million people under one agency that purchases the medication, if we negotiate that way we could actually deliver better care," he says. "It's actually going to save us money."

He says the question of where start-up money could come from can be easily answered.

"We can do it by asking those who are the wealthiest to contribute a bit more. I've laid out some of those plans of closing some CEO stock option loop-holes, closing some of the tax avoidance that happens, off-shore tax avoidance, increasing the inclusion rate," added Singh.

Singh says he hears similar stories across the country.

"Their illnesses get worse. I've heard really painful stories. I remember a young kid that I met and he told me about a chronic illness that he was born with and he's struggling with it, but he told me not to worry. He could deal with his illness, he's just afraid of how much his medications cost his parents," he says.

The Windsor native was also in town to support a national automotive strategy at Unifor Local 444's Union Hall on Turner Rd.