the first time since the inception of Pharmacare over 30
years ago, BC families will be denied benefits unless they
have registered with the province. According to a government
news release, 900,000 families (over 40% of the population)
have not registered for the program.
though you are enrolled with the Medical Services Plan,
and even though you are eligible for hospital benefits,
you will not receive benefits you would otherwise be entitled
to under Pharmacare unless you have completed the Campbell
government's paperwork authorizing them to access your income
tax returns. Some people assume that the province automatically
has a right to access tax returns, but under the federal-provincial
tax collection agreement, the province cannot see your return
unless you authorize it.
now the government allowed those with unexpected drug costs
to enroll in "Fair Pharmacare" at the time they
realized that they had sufficient drug costs for a claim.
program is tied to family income and eligible drug expenses.
For families with incomes over $30,000 per year, the program
pays 70% of drug costs after the family pays the first 3%
of its income ($900 or more in this case), and the program
pays 100% of drug costs after the family incurs 4% of its
income on eligible drug costs. In order to determine whether
your family is eligible, the government requires that you
authorize it to verify your income with the Canada Revenue
Agency. Starting January 1, 2008, no payment will be made
to any family that has not registered with the plan. Expenses
incurred prior to registration will be counted towards the
deductable, but no costs will be eligible for reimbursement
unless they are incurred after the date of enrollment.
would the Campbell government penalize 900,000 BC families?
What does the government have to gain by forcing 900,000
families to authorize access to their income tax returns
when they don't expect to make a Pharmacare claim? The Campbell
government expects to run a surplus of at least $1.6 billion
this year; how much more does it expect to save by beating
a few families out of their Pharmacare benefits because
they got sick before they gave government the authority
to look at their tax returns?
government must have some idea of the difference in the
demographics between the 1.3 million families who have registered
for Pharmacare and the 900,000 who haven't. Are these just
well-off families who are unlikely to qualify, or are they
illiterate or English language challenged families who have
difficulty understanding the government's paperwork and
couldn't begin to master the online forms? What motivates
this bizarre move? According
to CKNW, Health Minister George Abbott said that it
was always the intention to put Pharmacare on this basis.
If that was the case, why did the Campbell government wait
until now to unveil that secret?