Ontario Budget: CARP welcomes Ontario’s investments in health care but disappointed in increase to drug costs for seniors

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb 25, 2016

Toronto, ONCARP welcomes the Ontario Government’s investments in home and community care, end-of-life care and adult vaccination but disappointed that government will overall reduce drug coverage for seniors. CARP’s VP of Advocacy and COO, Wanda Morris was at the Ontario budget lockup today and reported back how the budget will impact Ontario’s aging citizens.

“While CARP members will be pleased that the government is addressing their day-to-day realities of dementia, shingles, and rising electricity costs, many will be disappointed that key programs will be taken away. Many rely on the drug benefit program to help keep out-of-pocket costs low, helping them stay healthy and out of hospitals as they deal with their chronic diseases.” –  Wanda Morris, VP of Advocacy and COO, CARP.

Improved Healthcare – end-of-life, dementia, adult vaccination

CARP members will appreciate the government’s commitment to make more care available at home and in the community through the 5% increase in funding for community-based care, compared to the overall increase for healthcare of only 2%. CARP members will also appreciate the government’s commitment to double end-of-life care funding of $155 million over 3 years, which will include funding of 20 more hospices. The funding will address the gap in end-of-life care, but CARP members will expect the province to work with federal government to create a national strategy around end-of-life care.

CARP welcomes the Ontario government’s recognition of the special needs of those with dementia and other neurological conditions by investing $10 million in Behaviour Supports Ontario. CARP also welcomes that the shingles vaccination will now be covered for seniors aged 65 -70.

 Drug costs to negatively impact seniors

CARP members will be disappointed in the changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit program. While many will support the increase to the income thresholds for low-income seniors, CARP members will be disappointed that the annual deductible will be increased from $100 to $170 and the co-payments will increase from $6.11 to $7.11 per prescription for so many others.

According to Wanda Morris, “The income thresholds for the drug benefit program are still very low.  This increase will have a significant negative impact on many seniors whose income is just above the threshold and who are dependent on multiple prescription drugs to manage their chronic conditions.”

Support for CPP

CARP supports the government’s decision to prioritize an enhanced CPP over an Ontario-only Pension Plan. While enhancing retirement security is critical, this should not just be a benefit for Ontarians but for all Canadians. The duplication of the workforce already in place to manage CPP should be avoided.

CARP is Canada’s largest national, non-partisan, non-profit organization advocating for improved healthcare and financial security for Canadians as we age.  CARP’s advocacy work is supported by 300,000 members and a network of 60 chapters across Canada.

 

CARP Missiissauga