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Analyze the debate over universal coverage, based on two newspaper articles. 1250 words!

Maximum 5 typewritten and double-spaced pages in 12 pt. font, standard margins, proper citations (APA or MLA style) and a bibliography.

Requirements: 1250 words



note: USE APA not mla as indicated in the word file 


AP/POLS 2100 N

Introduction to Canadian Politics

Winter 2020-21

Debate Paper

Due Date:
February 12 (on Eclass no later than 11:59 pm)

15% of the course grade

Maximum 5 typewritten and double-spaced pages in 12 pt. font, standard margins, proper citations (APA or MLA style) and a bibliography.

Canada’s universal public healthcare system is unique among developed countries insofar as it does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs. Universal, public coverage of prescription drugs has been recommended by major national commissions in Canada dating back to the 1960s. It has not, however, been implemented.

Your assignment will be to analyze the debate over universal coverage, based on two newspaper articles:

· ‘Canada can’t afford national pharmacare program’, by Aaron Wudrick


· ‘Yes, to national pharmacare – because we already paid for it’, by Tom Koch


Both articles are also available on the Eclass site.

The essay must choose a side of the debate. However, both sides of the debate must be given serious consideration. Do not simply ignore or belittle the position you oppose. Essays must be written in proper essay format, including the proper usage of citation and bibliographic styles. There are several essay writing aids available to students.

The essay must have a clear introduction, which outlines the topic and the position taken (thesis) and a conclusion, which reinforces and reflects on the argument made and evidence provided.

Note: Outside resources are not needed to complete this assignment successfully. Students may use a maximum of two outside sources, which may help in writing the assignment. However, the main ideas should come from the two articles that have been provided. Any outside sources used need to be properly cited within the assignment and included in the bibliography.

Page 1 of 2

Yes, to national pharmacare – because we already paid for it

Tom Koch is a Toronto-based gerontologist and consultant in chronic and palliative care. He is
the author of 14 books including Ethics in Everyday Places.

The battle lines were drawn earlier this month with the federal report of the Advisory Council
for the Implementation of National Pharmacare. In the subsequent jockeying everyone was
right, but both proponents and early critics missed an essential point.

The council’s chair, Dr. Eric Hoskins, is right. Patients should not be beggared, as many are
today, by the high cost of life-saving medications. Canada needs a co-ordinated strategy to rein
in drug costs. As a consultant in chronic and palliative care, I’ve heard from patients for whom
the cost of medications is a struggle.

The NDP made this a central plank in its platform leading toward the next election. It has
promised not only a national program in pharmacare, but one that would eventually include
other medical services now excluded from coverage.

But Official Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer and his Conservatives are also right. The federal
program, projected to cost $15.3-billion annually when fully implemented, is a lot of money.
But patchwork, semi-solutions of gradualism won’t solve the problem.

Insurers charge that a national pharmacare program would “disrupt” the coverage of Canadians
who currently purchase secondary insurance. That is correct. Many now buying supplemental
programs would not need them any more. But insurers will find a way. They were similarly
worried when the 1984 Canada Health Act was first passed. They survived and prospered in the

The council believes, correctly, that a national program with bulk purchasing would drive down
costs countrywide.

But it ignores a central problem: Drug companies would still be free to set the market price for
their products.

Big Pharma argues it needs to charge sometimes onerous prices for prescription medications to
cover the costs of bringing life-saving drugs to market. Giving credit to that argument is hard
when older drugs such as epinephrine (in the EpiPen) and insulin are priced unconscionably

As I wrote in my book, Thieves of Virtue, almost half of all drug research is funded by
government agencies. Their testing usually is carried out in the country’s publicly funded
hospitals and universities. Billions more in research monies are donated annually by non-profit
organizations dedicated to raising research monies for research on Alzheimer’s disease, cancer
(think Terry Fox runs), Down syndrome, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.

We are paying, in effect, three times: through federal research grants, through disease-focused
charities and then at the pharmacy.

A national pharmacare program could change this if – a radical idea – the cost of a drug over
the life of its patent was calculated to recognize the public support its development received.
Manufacturers would submit a funding history with a tentative pricing. A fair rate of return
would be permitted for the life of a patent based on that information. If drug companies
exceeded a fair price point their patent would be shortened as a result, permitting others to
produce it as well.

Canada could do this on its own, setting pricing as a condition of federal drug approval. But,
since Canada is not alone in its concerns, it could propose other countries join in on a
multinational drug policy based on fair return. Certainly, it would be a program welcomed by
many in the United States where drug costs, generally far higher than here, are a political issue.

Drug companies would scream foul if a policy of fair return were implemented. But, such as the
insurers who, in the 1960s, opposed from the start the idea of the Medical Care Act, they would

Medicine was never meant to be a maximizing, corporate, for-profit bonanza. When Frederick
Banting and Charles Best developed insulin they made it available to all in need. Early genetic
testing in the 1960s – for instance for Phenylketonuria (PKU) – was carried out in the spirit of
altruism by researchers seeking public-health benefits rather than personal or corporate profit.
So it should be today.

Yes to a national pharmacare program. The fragile among us will be the beneficiaries. It can be
done without financial hardship – for patients, provinces and suppliers – if we make reasonable
cost basis a benchmark for approval of drugs on a national formulary.

Canada can’t afford national
pharmacare program
Not everyone has a drug plan, but why not focus limited taxpayer
resources on helping those who need it, rather than subsidizing
those who don’t?
OPINION Jun 19, 2019 by Aaron Wudrick Hamilton Spectator

As health minister under Kathleen Wynne, Dr. Eric Hoskins introduced changes
to Ontario’s health insurance plan that made prescription drugs free for everyone
under age 25, in spite of the fact the overwhelming majority of this group was
already fully covered by their parents’ workplace or private plans, writes Aaron

In early 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed former Ontario
health minister Eric Hoskins to chair an advisory council on the
implementation of a national pharmacare program.

This week, the council issued its final report recommending a top-to-
bottom overhaul of prescription drug coverage that would effectively
wipe out the existing workplace and private drug plans that cover
more than two-thirds of Canadians and replace them with a one-size-
fits-all government plan for everyone, at a cost of $15 billion per year.

While some were surprised at such a “bold” (translation: expensive)
recommendation, they shouldn’t have been. Hoskins, a doctor who
spent years working in wartorn places like Sudan and Iraq, is nothing
if not compassionate. Nobody should question his desire to help.

But compassion alone doesn’t make it a good idea, and Hoskins’ own
political past suggests he’s not worried about running up the bills for

As health minister under Kathleen Wynne, he introduced changes to
Ontario’s health insurance plan that made prescription drugs free for
everyone under age 25, in spite of the fact the overwhelming majority

of this group was already fully covered by their parents’ workplace or
private plans.

In effect, he spent taxpayer money subsidizing people who had zero
need for a subsidy.

Now, he wants to supersize that mistake on a national scale, by
recommending that taxpayers be forced to spend billions on a
government drug plan for people who already have workplace and
private sector coverage — coverage that would almost certainly be
more comprehensive than the new government plan that replaced it.

Hoskins and others point out that not everyone has a drug plan, which
is true. But the obvious question is: why not focus limited taxpayer
resources on helping those who need it, rather than subsidizing those
who don’t?

Simply put, there’s no need to wipe out a system that already works
well for the vast majority of Canadians in order to help a few.

It’s no secret that when governments spread themselves too thin, they
end up doing everything poorly.

More importantly, even if the government wanted to, the federal
cupboard is already bare.

Not only did the Trudeau government fail to balance the budget as
promised in 2019, but their promised “modest deficits” totalling $26
billion over three years ended up being $72 billion — nearly triple the
campaign commitment — with no plan to get back to balance any time

If they can’t even keep a lid on their existing plans, where are they
going to come up with another $15 billion?

Finally, even if they could find the money, does anybody seriously
believe $15 billion would turn out to be the final price tag?

From the federal gun registry to Ontario’s eHealth, and from ships for
the navy to the Phoenix payroll system, time and again governments
have failed to stay within their estimated budgets, with taxpayers left
holding the bag.

These are the people Canadians are supposed to trust to deliver a
massive new social program on the best-possible budget?

It’s easy for politicians to make big promises. It’s a lot harder to
actually pay for them.

We don’t need wall-to-wall government pharmacare to address gaps
in the system, and we simply can’t afford it.

Aaron Wudrick is director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
(CTF). The CTF is Canada’s leading non-partisan citizens’ advocacy
group fighting for lower taxes, less waste and accountable