McNeil government raises Pharmacare premiums for 14,000 low-income Seniors

February 2, 2016

The McNeil government failed to disclose that 14,000 low-income seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) must now pay Pharmacare premiums starting on April 1. This according to an allnovascotia.com story published today.

Previously, all seniors receiving the GIS were exempt from paying Pharmacare premiums.

“These changes will hurt many seniors like me and my husband,” says Laurell Hamilton, a senior from Joggins who receives the Guaranteed Income Supplement. “The Premier said his changes are about fairness, but it’s not fair that people receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement be asked to pay more. We have a very modest income, and with grocery prices skyrocketing the government seems to want us to choose between food and medicine.”

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says seniors receiving the GIS should not have to pay Pharmacare premiums.

“This just highlights the level of deceit exercised by Stephen McNeil’s government in announcing changes to this extremely important health care program,” says MacDonald. “It’s clear now these changes had nothing to do with fairness or the long-term sustainability of the plan. The Liberals’ primary motive was to charge seniors, who have worked hard all their lives to save for retirement, an extra $10 million on their prescription drugs.”

She adds, “It’s shameful that the McNeil government has tried to mislead seniors. That’s why I’m calling for a halt to these unfair changes and for a full public consultation to be held on the Seniors’ Pharmacare program.”

This year premiums for Seniors’ Pharmacare will increase by up to 200%, the first increase since 2007 under the Rodney MacDonald Conservative government. The previous NDP government froze Pharmacare premiums.