Taxpayer Cost of National Pharmacare: Disputing the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s Estimate

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Summary

In September 2017, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) delivered a report titled, Federal Cost of a National Pharmacare Program. PBO’s report calculated that National Pharmacare would shift over $19.3 Billion annually off Provincial budgets and private sector payers onto the Federal budget and would impose over $7.3 Billion per year in additional costs for taxpayers. PBO's cost estimate was rigorous but was based on several generous assumptions that might not be realistic. CHPI’s analysis is based on a more realistic set of assumptions regarding potential costs and savings under National Pharmacare. It suggests that PBO significantly underestimated the cost of National Pharmacare, and proves that adjusting the gaps in existing public drug plans would be much less expensive for taxpayers.

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