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turningrite

Will Doug Ford go after seniors drug benefits?

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I read an article several days ago (link below) indicating that the Ford government possibly intends to end the long-existing universal drug benefit program for seniors. The implications of this could be quite significant, particularly given that seniors generally constitute a reliable conservative voting bloc. Will Ford throw that away, effectively giving Trudeau an issue the Libs might be able to use to sweep Ontario's federal seats? The repercussions could be much more widespread and serious, however, with many senior and near-senior voters potentially becoming aware of the extent to which governments are willing to pull benefits from long-time taxpayers in order to furnish them to more fashionable (i.e. politically correct) voting blocs. If the Ford government goes ahead with this, I think it could become a huge mess.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/01/10/fate-of-ontario-drug-benefit-could-define-federal-election.html

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The answer, I don't know if there'll be major changes.  But I do know that he promised dental plan for the low-income seniors.  No....it's not to have white teeth.

Quote

 

"Many Ontarians have dental insurance, but two thirds of low-income seniors cannot afford it," Ford told reporters in Toronto.

"They end up in the ER due to unbearable dental pain. More suffering for seniors and more strain on our health care system."

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ford-dental-seniors-income-low-1.4660745

 

 

But, just last March,

 

Quote

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced Ontario's plan to make prescription drugs free for people 65 and over,

Starting August 1, 2019, anyone aged 65 or older will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment and would be able to present their eligible prescription and OHIP number at any Ontario pharmacy and receive their medication for free.

 

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2018/03/making-prescription-drugs-free-for-people-65-and-over.html

 

My questions:  why does a seniors' drug plan have to be UNIVERSAL?  Why should taxpayers pay for those who can afford to pay for them?   Why shouldn't we look after those who can't, instead?    

To pay for everyone isn't sustainable - especially now that Ontario is deeply buried in debts!  Lol, we can't even say for sure if we'll have OHIP at all in the near future - never mind universal this-and-that.

Wynn was selling a dream to a socialist-bent society, whose heads are in the clouds.  The reality is just too alarming to contemplate.

Edited by betsy

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The drug benefit for seniors shouldn’t be universal, it should be means tested.  

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Just curious about a means test,  at what income level should seniors have to pay the full pop which can be a huge amount.   I don't have a problem with very high income seniors paying so what constitutes a high income.  

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4 hours ago, betsy said:

The answer, I don't know if there'll be major changes.  But I do know that he promised dental plan for the low-income seniors.  No....it's not to have white teeth.

My questions:  why does a seniors' drug plan have to be UNIVERSAL?  Why should taxpayers pay for those who can afford to pay for them?   Why shouldn't we look after those who can't, instead?    

To pay for everyone isn't sustainable - especially now that Ontario is deeply buried in debts!  Lol, we can't even say for sure if we'll have OHIP at all in the near future - never mind universal this-and-that.

Of course, the major point of comparison is the situation in the U.S., where at least many seniors have access to drug benefits provided through their employer plans. This is much rarer in Ontario, where employers generally don't offer such benefits, except perhaps in some unionized environments, due to the existence of the universal seniors drug plan. Will Dougie at least put Ontario seniors on an equal footing by requiring employers to extend such benefits to their retired employees? I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

Wynne reportedly contemplated gutting the seniors drug plan and replacing it with an income tested formula. Reportedly, her plan would have categorized single seniors with incomes higher than about 19K and couples with incomes higher than about 32K as privileged. Presumably she backed away due to the potential political backlash it might generate. If Ford tries to do this, he will no doubt do it early in his mandate as the timing will afford him some ability to ameliorate the backlash among a group of voters who tend to favor his party.

Why are universal seniors drug benefits important? We also have a near-universal basic old age pension as well, although the NDP's Mr. Singh would reportedly like to gut that. As some commentators have noted, those who pay often very high taxes throughout their working lives only to be told that when they get old their benefits must be scaled back in order to provide more benefits to the subsidy class will question why they should have to pay taxes at all. That's more or less the way I feel these days. I paid taxes for decades only to find out that now that I'm pensioned off the government apparently thinks that despite my reduced circumstances (earning about two-thirds of the amount I did during my working years) I should cover out of my own pocket benefits I was told for years that my taxes were intended to cover. Personally, I now think the whole thing is a scam. Hey, but if Ford makes my old employer pick up the tab I can live with that.

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That's the problem I have with means tests, because 19K or 32K for couples is not a high income, not even close.  They start clawing back the OAP at around $76 K which is a decent amount to live on if retired with no mortgage.  However, if two people have to start paying out tens of thousands they would start having problems, so maybe start with charging a co-payment at that amount.

The problem with making a company benefit plan responsible for those meds is that it would very likely result in much higher premiums for employer/employee all the way around so it is also likely that the employer would start to cut benefits. 

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50 minutes ago, scribblet said:

1.) That's the problem I have with means tests, because 19K or 32K for couples is not a high income, not even close.  They start clawing back the OAP at around $76 K which is a decent amount to live on if retired with no mortgage.  However, if two people have to start paying out tens of thousands they would start having problems, so maybe start with charging a co-payment at that amount.

2.) The problem with making a company benefit plan responsible for those meds is that it would very likely result in much higher premiums for employer/employee all the way around so it is also likely that the employer would start to cut benefits. 

1.) The other issue with means testing, of course, is that while it sounds fair it's actually quite inequitable. A single person in Toronto with an income of 19K, and particularly a tenant with such an income, is more disadvantaged than is somebody with a similar income who lives in a small town in the boondocks. Our PC MPPs have set the standard for affordability in Toronto by raising the housing allowance for MPPs who live outside the city to $2,300 monthly. By that standard, anybody earning less than about 60K to 70K annually should be spared a claw back.

2.) My point is that in the U.S. many employers do provide drug benefits to their retirees, particularly in unionized environments, in recognition of the fact that there aren't universal programs. And many provide some degree of health insurance coverage into retirement for the same reason. Universal programs, then, function as much as a subsidy to business, as American critics of our health care system often argue to be the case. I believe that Lee Iococca, a former head of Crysler, has argued that public universal health care and benefits programs are beneficial to both business and the public interest.  My guess, is that Ford's crowd will simply transfer  drug costs to ordinary seniors, thus putting a lot of them in a situation worse than that faced by their American counterparts. Meanwhile, our governments continue to juice housing costs in big cities with mass immigration and agree to trade deals that include provisions that significantly increase medication prices. When governments are working every which way against the interests of ordinary citizens, isn't it fair to ask why we should have to pay taxes?

Edited by turningrite

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1 minute ago, turningrite said:

1.) The other issue with means testing, of course, is that while it sounds fair it's actually quite inequitable. A single person in Toronto with an income of 19K, and particularly a tenant with such an income, is more disadvantaged than is somebody with a similar income who lives in a small town in the boondocks. Our PC MPPs have set the standard for affordability in Toronto by raising the housing allowance for MPPs who live outside the city at $2,300 annually. My that standard, anybody earning less than about 60K to 70K annually should be spared a claw back..................

Just for the record, the PC MPPs did not vote for that increase, it was set by the Board of Internal Economics on which sits two voting MPPs, one Conservative and one NDP...   the NDP member John Vanthof was in agreement saying the increase was necessary due to the higher rental prices in the GTA.   Also,  It only applies to those legislators who live at least 50 kms from the seat of government in Toronto,.

I doubt that Ford will transfer drug costs right onto ordinary seniors, if he does anything, it might be to force a benefit plan to pay the cost first, anything not covered by the benefit plan will be covered by the gov't. 

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12 minutes ago, scribblet said:

1.) Just for the record, the PC MPPs did not vote for that increase, it was set by the Board of Internal Economics on which sits two voting MPPs, one Conservative and one NDP...   the NDP member John Vanthof was in agreement saying the increase was necessary due to the higher rental prices in the GTA.   Also,  It only applies to those legislators who live at least 50 kms from the seat of government in Toronto,.

2.) I doubt that Ford will transfer drug costs right onto ordinary seniors, if he does anything, it might be to force a benefit plan to pay the cost first, anything not covered by the benefit plan will be covered by the gov't. 

1.) Well, and according to the CBC report, both the PC and NDP members agreed with the increase. Also, are you saying that the huge PC majority in the legislature couldn't have pushed back and cancelled the increase if it so chose? Silence equals consent in such matters.

2.) I think you're being overly optimistic here.

(Oops, I'd better watch out. My response is shorter than the quote, which is apparently a concern on this site.)

Edited by turningrite

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When considering the likelihood of government policy I think it's helpful to figure out who the affected population tend to vote for.

Seniors tend to vote PC. Therefore, it is EXTREMELY unlikely the PCs are going to cut off seniors drug benefits.

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18 hours ago, turningrite said:

Of course, the major point of comparison is the situation in the U.S., where at least many seniors have access to drug benefits provided through their employer plans. This is much rarer in Ontario, where employers generally don't offer such benefits, except perhaps in some unionized environments, due to the existence of the universal seniors drug plan. Will Dougie at least put Ontario seniors on an equal footing by requiring employers to extend such benefits to their retired employees? I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

 

And, Democrats want to copy us!

 

Anyway....if Ford will require employers this sudden overhead of extending benefits to their already retired employers - how many busineses can afford it?  How many downsizing will there be (which will amount to lay-offs), just so the business can still compete and make a profit?

Again, I ask - what's the point of doing it for people who can afford it?  Just so they'll have the extra money  to go to the Bahamas? Or, take a cruise?  In other words, taxpayers subsidize their lifestyles?

Being retired is not an automatic gold pass to entitlements.  It shouldn't.   We've got to make do with what we have - for a lot of us, it means downsizing and a change in lifestyle.  Subsidies and any extra financial help by the taxpayers are meant to cover the necessities for those who cannot afford it.

 

 

Quote

Why are universal seniors drug benefits important? We also have a near-universal basic old age pension as well,

That's another point.   We already give a universal old-age pension regardless of whether we worked or not.  And, who do you think will be the first ones to get a drug benefit from Ford - it'll be those who rely on only this pension cheque, and others who qualify (depending on their earnings).  

  Universal this-and-that, that's socialist mindset!

Edited by betsy

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11 hours ago, betsy said:

 Universal this-and-that, that's socialist mindset!

No, the socialist mindset is one that wants to give increasingly generous benefits to those who haven't paid their fair share, if anything, into the system. The only way those who have worked and paid high taxes to support the system get anything back is through "universal" rather than means or income testing eligibility. As a really good friend of mine who was a multimillionaire (and, sadly, is now deceased), pointed out when he qualified for the seniors drug program, he was finally getting back a tiny fraction of the taxes he'd paid into the system for years as he was already having his pension fully clawed back due to his income.

My preference is to see the health care model transformed into a contributory program, like the U.S. Social Security system or our CPP model. Those already over the age of, say, 50, would be credited with deemed contributions based on a residency formula. Contributions could be subsidized for those who can't afford them, with immigrant sponsors and the federal government responsible the costs of newcomers (i.e. those who've resided in the country for fewer than 10 years). Eliminating benefits for those who've paid their fair share into the system throughout their working lives, whether based on means or income testing, is a surefire way to undermine the legitimacy of the system. I'd want the government to fully refund all the taxes I've paid for years, and continue to pay in retirement, which I view as premiums that were and continue to be paid in good faith.

Edited by turningrite

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On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 3:58 PM, Argus said:

When considering the likelihood of government policy I think it's helpful to figure out who the affected population tend to vote for.

Seniors tend to vote PC. Therefore, it is EXTREMELY unlikely the PCs are going to cut off seniors drug benefits.

Ford is a lot of things but he's not suicidal.

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On 1/27/2019 at 10:35 AM, turningrite said:

No, the socialist mindset is one that wants to give increasingly generous benefits to those who haven't paid their fair share, if anything, into the system.

As an example, the 27,000 new elderly immigrants the government has just allowed in its recent applications. That's 27,000 more old people to shuffle into line at our already overburdened health care system. The Tories capped the number of elderly allowed to apply each year at 5,000 saying a quarter wound up on welfare, and the health care costs amounted to approximately $200,000 each. Using these figures, the elderly immigrants we just allowed to apply will cost us $5.4B.

And of course, we will get a new batch next year. And the following year. And the year after that.

In addition, all are eligible for Old Age security and Guaranteed Income Supplement pensions after 10 years in Canada.

 

Edited by Argus
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2 hours ago, Argus said:

As an example, the 27,000 new elderly immigrants the government has just allowed in its recent applications. That's 27,000 more old people to shuffle into line at our already overburdened health care system. The Tories capped the number of elderly allowed to apply each year at 5,000 saying a quarter wound up on welfare, and the health care costs amounted to approximately $200,000 each. Using these figures, the elderly immigrants we just allowed to apply will cost us $5.4B.

And of course, we will get a new batch next year. And the following year. And the year after that.

In addition, all are eligible for Old Age security and Guaranteed Income Supplement pensions after 10 years in Canada.

 

Who knows whether the subsidy scam can be brought under control? Essentially, politicians curry favor by giving away ever more taxpayer money. But the taxpaying population isn't a bottomless pit. The emerging solution to facilitate more money being shoveled to those who haven't paid into the system has been to recommend paring down programs and benefits for those who have financially supported the system for decades. The downside of this approach is that those same newly disentitled taxpayers simply won't want to pay anything at all to support the system. That, more-or-less, is how I feel. I've already experienced the negative impacts of our inadequate health care system and feel that I was under false pretenses overtaxed for decades to  pay for a system that provides anything but "universal" care. Once a critical mass of taxpayers realizes the system is a scam, it's possible that our deluded and self-serving politicians will face a backlash unlike anything they likely believed could occur in this country.

Edited by turningrite

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On 1/26/2019 at 7:12 AM, scribblet said:

Just curious about a means test,  at what income level should seniors have to pay the full pop which can be a huge amount.   I don't have a problem with very high income seniors paying so what constitutes a high income.  

Opening bid....3 times a living wage.

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I read The Star article and couldn't find any indication anywhere that the government was considering cuts in this area. Remember - it's The Star. Pure speculation - fear mongering actually. They used the term "gut" for heaven's sake. Unless someone has some evidence to the contrary, I'd file this under Fake News - or just irresponsible journalism.

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There should be cuts and people should have to pay fees, the status quo is unsustainable, Dougie Ford is just being a cuck because he's scared of the Toronto Lügenpresse.

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On 1/26/2019 at 3:58 PM, Argus said:

When considering the likelihood of government policy I think it's helpful to figure out who the affected population tend to vote for.

Seniors tend to vote PC. Therefore, it is EXTREMELY unlikely the PCs are going to cut off seniors drug benefits.

Plainly put, and accurate.

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The entitlements and benefits to seniors in this country are out of balance with those for millennials. As such, the millennials will turn back the pattern when they get power - which is soon.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

The entitlements and benefits to seniors in this country are out of balance with those for millennials. As such, the millennials will turn back the pattern when they get power - which is soon.

That's quite the blithe and counterintuitive analysis. In fact millennials, a huge proportion of whom have been relegated to working in the no-benefits gig economy, are urging governments to fill some of the gaping holes in the safety net. This is why the CPP has been enhanced and why there are growing calls for a broadly-based pharmacare program. It will be interesting to see how this demographic will react when it realizes that its aspirations are in conflict with the demands of the subsidy class (i.e. those who benefit from the system without having financially supported it). I suspect that millennials, who in general tend to be economically conventional in their approach to the world, will favor the contributory social contract model, whereby those who pay into the system must be assured of their right and ability to reasonably obtain benefits from it. As that's their only hope for a secure future and decent retirement, why would they see current seniors as the enemy? The generational warfare analysis is overdone and largely silly. I believe the real struggle will be between the contributors (i.e. taxpayers) and the ever-demanding subsidy class.

Edited by turningrite

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55 minutes ago, turningrite said:

1) That's quite the blithe and counterintuitive analysis. In fact millennials, a huge proportion of whom have been relegated to working in the no-benefits gig economy, are urging governments to fill some of the gaping holes in the safety net.

2) This is why the CPP has been enhanced and why there are growing calls for a broadly-based pharmacare program. It will be interesting to see how this demographic will react when it realizes that its aspirations are in conflict with the demands of the subsidy class (i.e. those who benefit from the system without having financially supported it).

3_ I suspect that millennials, who in general tend to be economically conventional in their approach to the world, will favor the contributory social contract model, whereby those who pay into the system must be assured of their right and ability to reasonably obtain benefits from it. As that's their only hope for a secure future and decent retirement, why would they see current seniors as the enemy?  

1) That's what I was trying to say.

2) Are you saying millennials are urging enhanced CPP ?  I mostly hear them complaining about tuition and housing prices but ok.  The subsidy class would include people who 'paid in' to systems that were run on massive funding deficits.

3) By my observations, they very much view 'boomers' as the enemy.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

The entitlements and benefits to seniors in this country are out of balance with those for millennials. As such, the millennials will turn back the pattern when they get power - which is soon.

I have my doubts. Millennial have been raised to be socially progressive. Cutting anyone's benefits is not considered socially progressive, just look to all the hysteria over the suggestion of proposals by the Ontario PC government to cut some funding to areas of education or health care.

Unless you mean the Millennials will seek to INCREASE benefits to themselves, while maintaining them to seniors? I can certainly see that happening, especially with half the population paying little or no income tax and much of the Left now fully adopting the meme that deficits are a good thing and can continue forever.

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Dougie Ford is not going to do anything significant, the point of Dougie Ford was simply to stop the bleeding of the Wynnederps. 

The damage the Wynnederps hath wrought cannot be undone without a reckoning. 

There will be austerity imposed therein by default.  All governments in the meantime are simply placeholders.

When the time comes, Ontario will have hard choices imposed upon it, Dougie Ford is prolly long gone by then.

Edited by Dougie93

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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

The entitlements and benefits to seniors in this country are out of balance with those for millennials. As such, the millennials will turn back the pattern when they get power - which is soon.

The Millenials will never rule, Failure to Launch Lost Generation.

The Millenials are so 1999, that generation has been replaced, by the iGens, observe;

 

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