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BC Federation of Retired Union
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BC FORUM News from the Advocate, Spring 2017

An Unfair Tax – MSP

Christy Clark’s BC Liberals have more than doubled MSP premiums – an unfair tax that targets seniors and vulnerable workers for the biggest hit

After years of relentless increases in Medical Services Plan premiums, Christy Clark said this year would be different. She said she would “cancel” the 4 per cent increase her government had planned

Temporary freeze turned into 10% hike

For more than 500,000 British Columbians, the feeling of relief lasted only until the bill arrived in the mail. Couples with no children at home – mostly seniors, many on fixed incomes – discovered she had increased their premiums by 10 per cent. Instead of getting a break, their increase was 2.5 times worse than if she’d left things alone.

Only in B.C.

British Columbia is the only province that charges such a regressive tax for medical services. It is a key component in the range of B.C. Liberal decisions that have favoured the wealthy and given our province the deepest inequality in Canada.

And we’re getting less for our money. While they have steadily increased MSP premiums, the B.C. Liberals have also eliminated coverage for paramedical services such as chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy and more.

The MSP must go

Eliminating MSP premiums is a matter of fairness,” says John Horgan, Leader of the BC NDP. “It doesn’t make sense that a person making $42,000 a year pays the same amount as a person earning $400,000, or even $4 million,” he says.

Responding to an email from Diane Wood, President of BC FORUM, Horgan said MSP premiums do not have any relation to the actual cost of health care and increases to MSP premiums are rising faster than increases in health spending and faster than inflation. Since Christy Clark became premier, she has increased MSP fees every single year.

“Christy Clark thinks senior couples living on fixed incomes, and young people who are just starting their professional lives don’t deserve a break. She is not putting British Columbians first – and that is certainly the case when it comes to the unfair Medical Services Plan premiums,” said Horgan.

“MSP premiums are another cost to B.C. families, especially those already struggling to make ends meet. We recognize that the current system only benefits those at the top, and this needs to change.

“I think all British Columbians should be treated fairly and if the BC New Democrats become government, we will eliminate MSP premiums,” he said.

Responding to the B.C. Liberal promise to reduce premiums in 2018, Horgan said British Columbians shouldn’t forget their record.

Actions speak louder than words

If Christy Clark wanted lower taxes for ordinary people she wouldn’t have doubled the MSP, and jacked up Hydro rates and ICBC premiums,” said Horgan.

“British Columbians have a clear choice. My plan will get rid of the unfair and inefficient MSP tax on families, entirely,” said Horgan.

“Because they can’t trust Christy Clark, who doubled MSP when she claims she will lower it a little bit for a year or two until she raids the pockets of families again.”

Horgan noted British Columbians have made it clear that they want the MSP gone for good, not just lowered a little bit for a little while.

“Christy Clark’s millionaire friends and donors will have to give up their billion-dollar tax break so that ordinary families can have life a little easier, and I’m okay with that,” said Horgan.

“The rich and big corporations have had their premier. It’s time for everyday people to have leadership that works for them.”

 

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