Blog | February 12, 2014

EDMONTON—The member organizations of Public Interest Alberta’s seniors task force will be meeting with Health Minister Fred Horne on Thursday, February 13th from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM at Government House (12845 – 102 Avenue), and will be available for media interviews there at 3:30 PM.

The organizations were finally promised a meeting after having to resort to a sit-in the Minister’s office on January 16th, 2014.

The seniors groups are very upset the Alberta government has announced they would be cutting the current universal seniors drug plan and establishing a means-tested plan that would transfer the $180 million in projected savings onto seniors with high drug costs. The seniors groups want to know why both Premier Allison Redford and the Minister Fred Horne promised seniors that they would not eliminate the current health plan. See their letters here.

The seniors have posed the following questions to the Minister and hope that he will be able to provide specific answers:

• What is your reaction to our Pharmacare Postion Paper?

• When do you anticipate introducing the Alberta Pharmacare Plan?

• Who has been consulted or had input with the formation of the Albert Pharmacare Plan?

• When and how do you intend to fulfill your undertaking to consult with senior’s stakeholders before implementing the plan?

• Assuming your stated intention to save $180 million while expanding prescription drug coverage to include the 20% of Albertans lacking coverage has not changed, how will you accomplish this?

• If your intention to save $180 million or to expand coverage has changed, what now is your intention?

• Is the government using the BC Fair Pharmacare Plan as a model for the Alberta plan?

• What changes are being contemplated to the Alberta prescription drug formulary?

• What is the government’s position on co-share payments, deductibles and means-testing for Alberta Pharmacare?

• If the current universal Seniors Drug Plan is changed to an income-based plan, is this not a form of surtax on people for being sick?

The PIA Seniors Task Force continue to a request to meeting with the Premier to get assurances that her government will not be cutting the $180 million out of the current seniors drug plan.