News | February 18, 2014

By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - The provincial government has no immediate plans to move ahead with an income-based drug plan for seniors, a spokesman for a coalition of seniors groups said Thursday.

The group won a meeting with Health Minister Fred Horne after two dozen seniors staged a sit-in at his constituency office last month.

“They are clearly not going to move on instituting an income-based plan,” said Noel Sommerville, spokesman for Public Interest Alberta’s seniors task force. “They are planning to do more consultation…(and) they do not intend to proceed with anything to do with this in the upcoming budget.”

Organizations representing seniors are upset over proposed changes to the province’s prescription drug plan.

Under the current drug plan, most seniors pay 30 per cent of the cost of each prescription, to a maximum of $25, regardless of income.

In the 2013-14 budget, the Redford government introduced a new pharmacare initiative, which would consolidate all the other plans into an income-based drug plan. That plan was supposed to be instituted by January 2014, but the government has not made any changes.

Details about the proposal remain scarce, and the seniors are urging Horne to issue a paper that outlines exactly what the government is planning.

Sommerville said Horne did not commit to issuing a paper.

Horne did not comment on the meeting Thursday.

kkleiss@edmontonjournal.com

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