Yesterday and today, all four of us in this household went out to vote in the advanced polls. One of the key issues for this family and for many others is the issue of catastrophic drug coverage. While we have decent private insurance today, there are no guarantees that that won’t change and we know all too well that our provincial drug plan managers will not cover every drug for kidney cancer.
No doubt you’ve read a lot about the renewal of Canada’s Health Accord in 2014 and the parties continuing their commitment to universal health care… etc… etc.
The truth is that kidney cancer patients in Canada need action now. Patients like us cannot wait for another commissioned study. We cannot wait for 2014 for the Health Accord to be renegotiated. We’re not on political time—we’re on cancer time and we’ve seen too many patients die prematurely because they simply couldn’t afford the cost of their cancer drugs. Without catastrophic coverage for cancer drugs, patients across Canada (and particularly in Atlantic Canada where coverage is the worst) will die or go bankrupt.
Some of you may remember the case of Ontario kidney cancer patient Judy Pope who died at the age of 59 because she wasn’t eligible for funded treatments nor could she afford the $6,000 per month for the therapy her kidney cancer specialist recommended. It’s true we need a long-term plan for health care, but stories like Judy’s underscore an urgent need for our political leaders to commit to an immediate-term solution for cancer patients.
Other Countries Have Acted — Cancer Drugs Fund
Canadians can learn from the campaign pledge David Cameron’s Conservative Party made during the last UK election: an immediate financial commitment of £50 million so those fighting cancer would never again be refused treatment on grounds of cost, followed by a long-term plan for cancer drug coverage. They made cancer patients a priority, they were elected and today they remain dedicated to their election promise.
We need the same commitment, compassion and leadership from our political leaders in Canada — and cancer patients need it now.
Please go out and vote. Take your family with you — and please vote to help your fellow patients across Canada.