Premier Kathleen Wynne hints at expanding pharmacare to all ages in Ontario — eventually
Universal pharmacare in Ontario 'an absolutely important goal,' Wynne says
A day after promising free prescription drugs for children and young adults in the Ontario's 2017 budget, Premier Kathleen Wynne is hinting she would like to expand the new pharmacare program to cover all ages.
The province announced the expanded drug coverage in Thursday's annual budget, a move it projects will cost $465 million per year.
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But as for the feasibility of a pharmacare program for all Ontarians, as well as when one could be rolled out, Wynne is making no promises.
"Do I believe there should be universal pharmacare for all ages in Ontario? Yes. I think that that is an absolutely important goal. Do I have a timeline on when that can happen? No, I don't," the premier said.
"But what I will say to you is it will happen much more quickly if we have a federal government that is working on a national pharmacare plan."
If approved, the Liberals drug plan for people aged 24 and under would roll out Jan. 1, 2018. It would cover 4,400 drugs for the province's four million children and young adults.
"Our vision, ultimately in this province, is this type of program for all Ontarians," said Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins. "We need to start with this step."
Both Wynne and Hoskins refused to comment on a specific timeline. Hoskins said the government's job is to first successfully roll out the expanded drug coverage and make it a success for four million young Ontarians..
"I think that's going to then illustrate or illuminate what the next steps could be."
With files from Laura Fraser and Mike Crawley