Commentary | Make sure to check your facts, Daily

Re: “The case for medicare” | Commentary | February 10

I’m sorry, but Quinn Albaugh doesn’t understand the fundamentals of how RAMQ administers medicare in this province.

Most Quebeckers do not qualify for pharmacare through RAMQ, but through private plans: either through work, a spouse, parents or student unions – for undergraduates at McGill, this plan is offered through SSMU and ASEQ and is administered by Sun Life.

Only people who cannot get a private plan otherwise qualify for public prescription insurance. They pay an annual premium for this coverage in addition to a deductible and coinsurance.

In addition to core medical coverage, the Blue Cross insurance provides benefits that are not covered by RAMQ and would require supplemental insurance. (This is why international students are not enrolled in the full SSMU insurance package while Canadian students are.)

Finally, student plans benefit from the same cost control mechanisms as the public system. With exceptions, these plans pay for care at the same rate as RAMQ. Prescriptions under these plans also cost the same amount: prices for on-patent medications are set nationally by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

Because students would have to purchase supplementary and prescription insurance on top of RAMQ participation, and in light of the student population’s health, it is unlikely that Albaugh’s solution would lower costs for enrolees.

I sense that Albaugh’s real gripe is not with the way international student insurance is administered at all: rather, they are upset that Medavie Blue Cross will not pay for hormones for transgender individuals. This is another issue entirely. I merely wish that next time they would understand the facts at hand before making their case.

Ryan Hassett

U1 Political Science and Economics


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