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EDMONTON – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) welcomes the Alberta NDP’s promise to help cover prescription medication for lower-income seniors.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley made this announcement earlier today, and said this plan would cover seniors with yearly incomes of $75,000 or less, affecting approximately four out of five seniors in Alberta.

The UCP has made no platform announcements to date on drug coverage.

“Far too often, seniors are forced to decide between paying for their prescribed medication or putting food on the table,” said AUPE Vice-President Bonnie Gostola. “The only time that all Albertan seniors have access to publicly covered medication is when they are hospitalized. Beyond that, seniors rely on a patchwork of provincial subsidies, health benefits, or have no coverage at all. This has to end.

“The time is long past due to plug this hole in our health care system. This campaign promise would be life-changing for Alberta’s low and middle-income seniors who have struggled with medication costs.”

While AUPE members welcome this announcement, Gostola stressed that it does not go far enough.

“Everyone, young and old, should receive the medication they need without having to worry about costs or other barriers to access,” she said. “The Alberta NDP’s promise is a step in the right direction, but AUPE members and all Albertans deserve a provincial pharmacare plan.

“Without pharmacare, many of the goals of publicly insured health care are undermined, and that is unacceptable.”

Gostola also said this issue will remain a priority for AUPE members regardless of which party forms Alberta’s next government.

“Whatever the result of this election, AUPE members will continue fighting for better public health care, and that includes fighting for a truly universal pharmacare plan,” she said.

AUPE is Alberta’s largest union, standing over 95,000 members strong. Its members are celebrating 100 years of solidarity in 2019.

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For more information:

Alexander Delorme, AUPE communications officer: 780-264-9274