Liberals undecided on what pharmacare strategy should look like
Though the creation of a pharmacare advisory committee was announced in the new budget, Canada's finance minister says the government is not clear on what the final outcome will be.
When asked about the cost, eligibility requirements and implementation of pharmacare, Bill Morneau told The House he didn't know yet.
"If we had the answers we would have come forward with the answers now."
On Wednesday, Morneau told the Economic Club of Canada the national program will be designed to fill gaps, while being "fiscally responsible."
But details have been scarce, beyond Morneau's insistence the plan will be "driven by the advice we get" during consultations.
Eric Hoskins, Ontario's former Liberal health minister, will chair a council that will meet with stakeholders and make recommendations to government on how to proceed with a national plan.
The minister strongly denied rumours that he'd hinted the system would be means tested.
Implementing a national pharmacare plan could cost upwards of $20 billion, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Morneau said those estimates likely didn't take into account all the various options, and he won't speculate on the costs of the plan until he's more familiar with what the options might be.
The first step, he said, is to look at the current system to deduct what the targets should be moving forward.
"What I can't say yet is how best we'll do that," he added. "It wouldn't be appropriate for me to rule out anything at this stage."