Shining A Light On...Pharmacare

By Brittney Servetnyk, Young Worker Committee Member 

My name is Brittney Servetnyk I work in Saskatoon as a Continuing Care Assistant in a long-term care facility. I am also on the Young Workers Committee (YWC) with SEIU-West. The Federal Election is coming up quickly on October 21st 2019. I am voting because I want a government that ensures us with Pharmacare, fair wages and fair housing costs. Its important to vote because its our right as Canadians to vote from the young age of 18 years and up. I find it especially important to vote as a female as the right for a female to vote was fought so hard by women in the early 1900's.The decisions the government make affect absolutely everyone. We all have a voice in who our government is, and can hold them accountable for their actions while in office. Your vote matters! Check out this interview about pharmacare I did in support of our YWC Shining A Light On initiative and the upcoming election: 

Pharmacare: A drug insurance plan that belongs to all Canadians – one that is sustainable and equitable – where Canadians have access to prescription medications based on their need and not their ability to pay.

When we go to the Doctor we hand them our provincial health card and expenses are covered.

Getting to the pharmacy is when the anxiety really hits, as many begin to crunch numbers in our head and think, "Do I really need this medicine? Can it wait a little longer? Do I skip groceries bills or rent?”

Some people are fortunate enough to be able to hand the pharmacist a drug insurance card whether it be through work (often thanks to their union) or a secondary insurance company. But even then some medications still come with cost, or sometimes a medication isn’t recognized under your plan.

A lack of universal prescription drug coverage – Pharmacare – is causing many people skip doses, split pills, or skip their medications entirely just to get by. This not only leads to a decline in a person’s mental and physical health, but fills our emergency departments as well.

Now imagine a future where your provincial health card is used at the pharmacy and prescription costs are covered just like a visit to your Doctor’s office… this is possible with Pharmacare.

Canadians pay one of the highest prescription costs and we are currently the only developed country with universal health care that does not include prescription drug coverage.

As workers we need to contact our MPs and elected leaders in order to stress the importance of a strong, healthier future with Pharmacare. Be sure to ask your federal candidate where they stand on Pharmacare!

Interview between Brittney (YWC Co-Chair) and Matt Winacott (Primary Care Paramedic)

Q: What does a future with Pharmacare look like?

A: A future with Pharmacare includes healthier citizens with more money in their pockets, who don’t have to worry about being able to afford their medications. Canadians would use their provincial health card at the pharmacy as they would at the hospital with no cost. When people don’t skip their medications due to financial burden both their physical and mental health improve.

Q: Who would be eligible to receive Pharmacare?

A: All Canadians would be eligible.

Q: How many residents are going without medications or skipping doses?

A: 1 in 5 Canadians are unable to fill their prescriptions due to cost.

Q: As a young worker in health care yourself, why is Pharmacare so important?

A: From my own experience in health care, I have seen people make tough decisions to go without their medications to pay for food or rent. Pharmacare is important because when you're working hard to make ends meet or bettering your life going to school or trying to afford child care, you shouldn’t have to worry about medical expenses.

 

More articles of interest

Purple Works Profile

Put Kids First: Editorial for Education Week

Put Kids First: By Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West As the school year continues on, we have an opportunity to celebrate Education Week (October 20 – 26. 2019) and to put kids first. But this is no mere platitude, rather a call to recognize the value of education and the impact...

Read more