09/06/2013 11:44 EDT | Updated 11/06/2013 05:12 EST

Chamber of commerce calling for details of proposed New Brunswick drug plan

FREDERICTON - The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce says the provincial government should extend drug coverage to all New Brunswickers, but it is worried about the cost of such a program.

In a statement, the business group says extending the program would help people who can't get a job because they would lose drug coverage offered through the Department of Social Development.

The province's Conservative government began a consultation process on a drug plan for people in the province without insurance in February 2012.

At the time, it said about 30 per cent of people in the province did not have prescription drug coverage and it was looking at a plan that would fairly subsidize costs based on a person's ability to pay.

In December 2012, the government received a report on the proposal that recommended a mandatory insurance plan for all uninsured New Brunswickers with affordable premiums to be paid by those enrolled and subsidies for low-income families.

However, the chamber says businesses in the province are growing increasingly wary of the potential impact on their bottom line.

The chamber says employers who do not offer insurance plans are typically small- to medium-sized enterprises that could not absorb additional payroll taxes without cutting costs.