Basic Income vs National Pharmacare

As usual, André Picard @picardonhealth makes good points when he wonders whether a basic income strategy would be better than a national pharmacare plan. (Globe & Mail, June 25, 2019). We have long known that the way to keep people healthier longer is to ensure that they have a decent income, a roof over their heads, healthy food, a good education, a sound physical environment and sense of belonging.

It is also clear that continuing to build our “sickness care” system and medicalizing ageing at the expense of other social programming (e.g., affordable housing, community supports, etc.) is not the answer.  There are no magic bullets; no stand-alone strategies are going to address the complex range of issues that we face.

So the real choice is not either basic income or pharmacare; the choice should be “both”.

That is why Care watch is calling for both a national seniors strategy and a national pharmacare strategy, which complement our public health services system.

Let’s start where we can – using our collective economic strengths to negotiate and secure better prices and access to needed medications.  Let’s continue working on other social determinants of health: adequate income; affordable housing; nutritious food; safe environments for us to live, work and play; and social participation. #cdnpoli