Rachel Blaney is applauding the federal NDP’s universal Pharmacare plan.

The North Island-Powell River MP said her party has provided a framework to move forward with it.

The bill was tabled in the House of Commons yesterday.

The NDP’s Canada Pharmacare Act is based on the principles of the Canada Health Act and follows recommendations of the government’s own Hoskins’ report.

“In that report, they also said very clearly, the most affordable, comprehensive way forward is a single-payer, universal Pharmacare program,” Blaney said. “We’re hoping that by moving this bill, we can provide some leadership and hopefully get some support from the Liberals to actually get the work done.”

The NDP says its Pharmacare plan would be free for Canadians, make emergency wait times shorter, and free up more hospital beds for those who need them. 

Canada is the only country that has universal healthcare but doesn’t have a universal Pharmacare system to go along with it.

Blaney said it’s time to change that.

“So it’s sort of the second step, it should have been done many years ago, and hopefully at this time, a minority government will see some action to get that next part done.”

Blaney added a lot of Canadians are not able to afford the medication that they desperately need. 

She accused the Liberals of breaking their decades-old promise of bringing in a national Pharmacare program.

“When is this going to get done?” Blaney asked. “Medication is getting more and more expensive.”

She also pointed out that a couple of years ago, the Parliamentary Budget Officer did a report where he stated, “very clearly that if Canadians got together, and all provinces and territories bulk buy the medication collaboratively, which is not happening in Canada right now, they would save over $4 billion a year, just with that one step alone.”

Blaney said hopefully the bill comes up for debate in the next few weeks.

“What we hope to see is that debate will happen, and hopefully we’ll get the support we need to get it to the next stage which is to go to committee and get parliamentarians get witnesses on the issue from across Canada together, to review the bill and improve it in any way that it needs to be improved and then the next step after that.”

Blaney said the federal NDP is looking for support from the Liberal government to get the work done that “so many Canadians need.”

“I don’t know how many times I’ve had constituents talk about having to make choices about medication and food or medication and heat. We really need to take care of people in this country, and this is an affordable way to do that.”

The NDP says it will also save families more than $500 a year on average, whether they have insurance or not, and save employers $600 a year per insured worker.