National pharmacare, our own economic rescue package
Belgium is a country situated in northwest Europe, and is surrounded by the Netherlands (Holland), to the North; Germany Luxembourg, to the East; France, to the South; and the English Channel and the North Sea, to the West. The Kingdom of Belgium has a population of approximately 10.7 million.
All Belgians are eligible for their country’s national public or state-run drug program. Yes Belgians can receive government drug coverage, regardless of their age, disability, income status and socio-economic status. However, the amount of coverage depends on the individual’s or family’s annual income and family size. Belgian Government Health Official, Luc Nicolas explains:“In Belgium, all citizens (workers and unemployed) are covered by a social security scheme which guarantees reimbursement of prescribed drugs: percentage of reimbursement (0 - 100 per cent) depends on type of drugs and is decided upon by a specific commission at the federal level.
One important feature in Belgium’s health care programs, is that out-of-country travelers may be eligible for full or partial health care and Drug coverage in a European Union state, like France, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, for example or in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein provided they carry a EHIC ( European Health Insurance Card).
In order for a Belgian to receive medical coverage, they must carry an EHIC Card; stay in the country on a temporary basis, and the illness/injury was unplanned or unexpected and was treated as an inpatient or outpatient on an emergency basis. The European Health Insurance Card does not cover any medical treatment that a Belgian resident has planned to undergo in another country. In these cases it is best that Belgians sign up for supplementary private health insurance coverage.”
Closer to home, the recent federal government budget has neglected a national drug coverage plan. Recession or no recession, the Harper Conservative Government should have implemented the long-awaited Nation- al Pharmaceutical Strategy recommendations - and especially providing national pharmacare coverage for those of us Canadians who have no other public or private drug coverage, and those of us who have inadequate coverage! Given the fact, that 13 provincial and Territorial health ministers, in 2006 unanimously endorsed the NPS recommendations, one would think the federal government would have granted us health consumers facing high medication costs, our own economic rescue package - national pharmacare.