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This article was published 12/7/2019 (507 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says, if he wins office in September, he would restore and expand a life-saving drug program for those suffering from diabetes, cancer and cystic fibrosis.
Lamont told a news conference at the legislative building Friday the program, slashed by the Pallister government, is important for those with low or fixed incomes. He said proper access to the drugs can prevent serious health complications that can be expensive to treat.
"We don’t think Manitobans should ever have to choose between a life-saving medication and paying their bills," he said.
Last year, the Progressive Conservatives cancelled a program that paid the total costs for certain drugs, leaving many Manitobans with the cost of Pharmacare deductibles.
Lamont said the Liberals would restore full drug coverage for treatment of cystic fibrosis, cancer and diabetes, and fully cover medications for HIV.
They would also restore the number of diabetes test strips covered by the province to 4,000 a year, from the current 3,650. Two years ago, the Tories reduced the number of test strips — used to monitor blood sugar levels — that are covered.
The Liberals, with four seats in the Manitoba legislature, also promised to reinstate coverage for CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which help those with sleep apnea. They also vowed to cover the cost of insulin pumps for adults with Type 1 diabetes.
"Manitoba is one of the only provinces that doesn’t cover insulin pumps for all ages," Lamont said.
The Liberals estimate it would cost $5 million a year to restore coverage of CPAP machines. Boosting the availability of free diabetes test strips would cost the province $1.8 million, while extending coverage for insulin pumps would cost an estimated $2.4 million a year, they said.
Lamont couldn't provide an estimate for how much it would cost to eliminate the Pharmacare deductibles on the life-saving drugs.
"We don't think it is that significant a sum," he said.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.