At a time of record inflation, it’s ‘beyond absurd’ that Alberta would opt out of a national pharmacare program that would save families thousands of dollars in prescription fees. CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill called on Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to reverse her position and offer financial relief to the province.

“It’s absurd to me that someone in Ontario or Quebec would be able to access a prescription plan, but Albertans would have to pay out of pocket for private insurance, if they can get it at all,” said Gill. “A national plan would save everyone money, and it would save lives.”

According to Angus Reid, 21% of Albertans experience cost related barriers in getting the medications they need. That doesn’t factor in others who manage the expense of a private plan but would save money with a national system.

Gill said opting out would hurt efforts to recruit and retain workers, especially in the health care sector, as workers would opt for provinces where they and the people they care for are part of a better healthcare plan.

“Health care providers care about things like drug plans,” said Gill. “We already have a shortage of health care workers; we don’t need to add to the problem.”