Key Issue When Discussing Pharmacare Bill

The key issue when discussing the pharmacare bill is not whether universal free pharmacare should come into being or not. What society needs is the immediate full implementation of universal pharmacare paid for by the enterprises that benefit from the increased value of the healthy workers they employ. The second issue that must be addressed is the pharmaceutical industry itself and the necessity to bring it under the full ownership and control of the people.

Pharmacare is the universal free distribution of prescribed and other necessary drugs. Much of the discussion of pharmacare does not debate the necessity or not of the program according to the needs of the people but rather its cost. And cost is itself calculated on the basis of narrow private interests, not on the basis of a public interest. This indicates that the need for universal free pharmacare has been generally accepted but that the issue is whether the economy can support it or not and if so how should this support be organized.

Modern mass health care along with mass education and other features of the socialized economy and society provide enormous value not only in terms of the benefit they bring to the people and society but also their economic value. The economic value is tangible and can be seen in the increased value of the capacity to work of everyone. This increased value of the capacity to work is then transferred through the production of goods and services to the social product working people produce.

It readily flows from this objective reality that the increased value of the fruits of labour of working people produced in the enterprises of the economy due to socialized health care, education and other social programs should be plowed directly back into the productive forces where they originate namely the productive centres of health care, education and elsewhere. Realizing the economic value of health care and education should not come via an indeterminate route of general taxation, most commonly income and sales taxes imposed on working people, but directly from the gross income of enterprises that benefit from the increased value.

Furthermore, many of the products required by the Canadian market could be produced within Canada on the basis of projects supported to carry out research, development, production and distribution.

The realization of the material means of production such as iron ore for steel mills or electricity for all enterprises does not come via general taxation but from the normal interaction of the buying and selling of commodities between enterprises necessary for the production of goods and services. Why do those in power, including pundits and media not acknowledge that how to sustain a pharmaceutical industry within the country on the basis of Canadian natural and human resources and know-how is not rocket science? It is known and can be done with imports only resorted to when justified. The economic value of the capacity to work of the human means of production, which is the most common purchase all enterprises must make to operate, must be taken into account.

The property relations of production in their current antiquated form are dominated by the dictate that the value of the capacity to work of the human means of production is purchased according to its presumed value. But the true economic value of the capacity to work in its enhanced amount arising from social programs such as mass health care and education is denied. The men of property in control and ownership of the economy who need the human means of production to operate their enterprises refuse to realize (pay for) the full value of the capacity to work they buy. They seek to avoid paying the full value of the capacity to work of their employees and thereby pocket that amount as private profit.

This theft from the economy, which generates great social damage on the people, economy and society must change and not wait for the overthrow of the imperialist system. It can be done now with the organized force of the working class.

This article was published in
Volume 54 Number 2 - March 2024

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