• Referencing one of the comments below- it is interesting how private industry can provide a more encompassing health care plan for about the same cost that government provides a drug care program. Although, as identified, it is easy to do that when industry has a pretty firm grip on one of the nipples leading from the gravy train.
    In line with Bill’s article, the government has approached this in its normal fashion— give us more especially from those with higher incomes. I believe Bill is correct, many with higher incomes will depart the plan, because they will decide to self fund/ insure. A couple can buy considerable drugs with $3000.($ 2400 premium and $600 deductible) That is $30,000 over 10 years.
    The government has totally lost sight of what the higher income seniors want from their drug plan. They want protection from the “devasting” prescription. The $100 prescription is within their means. So if the government asked the “high income earners” not to pay more but to take out less, they might be able to produce a win, win situation. For instance increase the deductible to 60% with an annual limit of $600, would encourage “high income earners” to stay in the plan by provided insurance that meets their “devastating” scenario. I do not know what the correct numbers are, but increasing premiums based on income is a losing proposition and I think Bill’ prediction of mass defections of all but the chronically ill is correct.
    If the government thinks the current plan is unsustainable just wait until the new plan kicks in. And now we know why they hid the facts from us. The facts display their incompetence. There is a difference between repairing a refrigerator and repairing Pharmacare.

    barry | February 7, 2016 | Reply

  • The Government wants us to believe that even with all their efforts the Pharmacare Plan is unsustainable. I think that before they go trying to deem a plan unsustainable it would be wise to educate the public and understand all the conditions of the plan that make it unsustainable.
    One example is eligibility. To be eligible one must not be in a private group plan. That is fiction: there are thousands of seniors in the plan who have private insurance with benefits far beyond the benefits offered by Pharmacare. At least one , maybe more , private insurer threatened their members with being kick out of the group plan if they did not enroll in Pharmacare when they were eligible on their 65th birthday. Seniors who had been part of a group plan, probably through their employer, were faced with paying double premiums for the same coverage. ( a couple paying $900 for the group plan was now paying $1750 the day they turned 65.) So a government/ taxpayers subsidized program was and is now paying out significant expenditures for thousands who are not eligible to be in the plan, and who do not want to be in the plan. In a subsidized program you want as few participants as possible!!!
    The plot however does not end there. The private insurer deemed Pharmacare was the 1st payer. As a result, what would normally be the private insurers costs were transferred to Pharmacare. So how many millions are being transferred to Pharmacare? Wouldn’t we like to know. Is the government complicit in this cozy arrangement?? Wouldn’t we like to know?
    In summary, we have seniors ineligible for Pharmacare being forced into Pharmacare at double the cost, Pharmacare paying out a subsidy for expenditures which are ineligible, we have Pharmacare paying out expenditures that rightly belong to private insurers and we have Private insurers going to the bank with our money.
    You would think that the Plan Administrator would identify this and do something to protect the integrity of Pharmacare. Who is the Administrator??? Please don’t tell me they are a private insurer!!! Wouldn’t that be a potential conflict of interest. If the administrator was also a private insurer that would create competing interests that one could abuse and benefit from. Scary or what.
    What I do know is that there are many seniors now living in NS, who were not members in a group plan with this private insurer, who just continue on paying their group plan premiums and have not received any threats.
    So there is a tremendous disparity. One thing for sure, seniors in the Pharmacare plan are being hosed and the government wants us to believe the plan is unsustainable. I do not know whether it is unsustainable but it is definitely out of control and the government wants us to pay more to cover their incompetence… (and complicity?)
    Thank you Mr. MacNeil

    H L | February 6, 2016 | Reply

  • For exposing this govt’s ‘sleight of hand’ method of presenting these generally ‘unwelcome’ changes we can credit the detailed and early analysis of Tim Houston, MLA, Pictou east.

    bob nackenzie | February 5, 2016 | Reply

  • Numerous comments come to mind on this ill-conceived and muddled approach to a serious problem
    !) where was the much vaulted and over rated Communications department on this issue? Were they even consulted?–if they approved the optics then fire them, if they weren’t consulted then why have them? Inexperience and incompetency by the Premier and Glavine.
    2) If the government is determined to have such a plan-and I don’t oppose the concept–then why have it conducted thru vested interests, that being the chain drugstores. The vast majority of drugs (legal) are dispensed thru large chains owned by larger chains-Shoppers, Lawtons and Costco.
    Why not have the drug outlets ,liquor outlets, lotto ticket outlets and cigarette outlets combined into stand alone sites and let the Province be the sole supplier and purchasing agent for each. Eliminate the price gouging for the drug phase of the operation (sell at cost plus 10%)and then put the whole operation on a store-by-store tendered operation with no one entity permitted to own more than one outlet
    Give some preference to the small individual pharmacies if necessary to make the medicine go down. .
    We could add marijuana in due course
    3) Get government out of the business of business.
    4) Have they even considered the extra costs that may be incurred by future medical complications of those who “opt out”–of which I will surely be one
    Reflecting on Donald J. Trump the word “stupid” does come to mind

    Bill F | February 5, 2016 | Reply