CARP opposes increasing drug costs for low income Alberta seniors


December 9, 2008
CARP opposes increasing drug costs for low income Alberta seniors

TORONTO, ON: CARP is calling on Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert to reconsider the increases to drug costs for low income seniors in Alberta and to apologize for his remarks that seniors have an entitlement mentality.

The Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy announced on December 8, 2008 provides that single seniors with an annual income of less than $21,325 and senior families with an annual combined income of less than $42,650 — will not pay for drug coverage. Other seniors will pay a deductible based on their income. Seniors with incomes even slightly more than the lowest income cut off could pay substantially more than they do at present [Please see chart attached]

“CARP recognizes the need to contain costs but not on the backs of seniors who have been paying into the public health system all their lives and expect it to be there for them when they need it. At least the low income cut-off levels should be increased. It is unfair for the Health Minister to suggest that their concerns about the increased costs amount to a “sense of entitlement” and he should retract that statement,” said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.
Health Minister Liepert is quoted in today’s Calgary Sun as saying:” The philosophy of this government is there should not be a sense of entitlement when you turn 65.”

Coming amidst the economic chaos that has devastated the retirement security of older Canadians, the announced increases in drug costs will raise fears for even modest income seniors, not just low income seniors, that they will not be able to make ends meet.

“At a time when political fortunes can turn on a dime, this is not the time to outrage the most active and politically engaged voters especially when they are already hurting,” added Eng.
More than 70% of older Canadians vote regularly.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

For further information, please contact:
Pam Maher 416.363.2277 x. 235 Communications coordinator


Susan Eng Vice President Advocacy CARP, A New Vision of Aging for Canada

or visit our website:

The news release announcing the new Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy may be found at: