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The Liberals and the NDP agreed on a drug insurance project

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick Archives The Canadian Press NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh shaking hands with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019

The Liberals and New Democrats finally agreed on a drug insurance project. A bill that will establish the foundations of a national drug insurance program will be tabled next week, the New Democratic Party (NDP) confirmed to Devoir .

In the short term, a universal single-payer program will also cover contraception and diabetes medications. All Canadians with a health insurance card will therefore be able to access these two classes of medications free of charge.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also confirmed the news during an interview to be broadcast on CBC on Sunday.

The agreement comes one week before the deadline imposed on the Liberals for the presentation of a universal drug insurance program. Jagmeet Singh threatened, in the absence of an agreement, to tear up the agreement which allows the liberals, in the minority, to keep power until 2025. The March 1 deadline which had been set for the submission of a bill will necessarily be respected.

“We’re really proud. We have not seen any movement on drug insurance for years. We forced the Liberals by holding our own,” confides a NDP source close to the negotiations.

Talks have intensified over the past 48 hours. As proof, the negotiations were still subject to “several points of tension” as recently as mid-week.

Negotiations between the federal government and the provinces on coverage of contraceptives and diabetes medications must begin in 2024, according to this same source. “The government is committed to negotiating with the provinces to cover these products free and universally,” she summarizes. Beyond the negotiations concerning contraceptives and diabetes, the federal government will also sit down with the provinces to negotiate a national universal drug insurance program. »

Discussions with Quebec

The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, maintains that in the absence of “unconditional” compensation for Quebec, his party will oppose the bill. “It is from the outset an interference in Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction to save the Trudeau government,” he declared on Friday.

When asked about the modalities of such a program in Quebec, Jagmeet Singh affirmed that it would be necessary to “work with all the provinces, but in particular with Quebec, because it already has a program”. “It’s going to take work, but it’s something we can do,” he assured Wednesday.

“We are always open to special or more specific discussions with Quebec,” indicates the NDP source. But it is certain that we would like Quebecers to also have the same coverage as elsewhere in the country. »

The “support and confidence” agreement between the Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP called for the adoption of a drug insurance law by the end of 2023, but the NDP had agreed to extend the deadline on March 1, 2024. It should therefore last until 2025.

Between 2018 and 2021, private drug insurance plans covered 51% more drugs on average than public plans. In Quebec, the province where public coverage is the most generous, this difference was 59.6%.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116