Long-awaited national pharmacare bill to be introduced in House of Commons

A long-awaited bill on national pharmacare could be introduced in the House of Commons as early as Thursday.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has already discussed a lot of the main points in the bill, saying it will lay out a framework for a national phamacare program and provide coverage of pharmaceutical contraception and diabetes medication.

However, the government remains tight-lipped on specific details, and House Leader Steve MacKinnon won’t say how quickly he thinks the bill could be passed.

“We look forward to a vigorous and healthy debate in the house and we’ll see how it goes,” he told CityNews.

The bill has been put on notice, which means it can be tabled as early as Feb. 29, with Friday being the deadline imposed by the NDP.

Even when it passes, it will still require negotiations with provinces. Alberta and Quebec have already said they plan to opt out.

But NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice says those premiers are jumping the gun and could still change their minds.

“I think it’s a bit early to say no when they don’t see what’s on the table right now,” Boulerice said.

The NDP is celebrating the bill and sees it as a first step toward full national pharmacare.

The legislation also means the party’s confidence deal with the Liberals will likely remain in place.

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