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October 27, 2017 7:25 pm

Why Must British Columbians Pay MSP Premiums?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 @ 5:50 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Health care concerns dominated the agenda in a provincial telephone town hall held last night.

The interactive town hall was hosted by Finance Minister Mike do Jong and was the first of four to be held in each region of the province this month.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

De Jong, who was on the hot seat much of the night, says they will help inform his provincial budget due to be delivered on Feb. 21.

Ten callers from central and northern B.C. managed to get through with two of them asking him why B.C. is the only province in Canada to charge its citizens MSP premiums.

“The short answer is we’ll spend $18 billion this year on health care and we collect 2 to $2.5 billion in premiums,” said de Jong. “And the bottom line is the money has to come from somewhere.”

He added one option would be to move the premiums into the income tax system but warned that would increase taxes for British Columbians.

The minister also lent a sympathetic ear to concerns from two callers in the northwest about the doctor shortage in the region.

“I don’t have a doctor and there’s no walk-in clinics, I have no access,” said Nicola from Smithers. “When I’m sick I have to go to the emergency room so I feel I’m paying for a service I’m unable to access.”

De Jong responded by acknowledging the province would consider ramping up physician recruitment efforts while sounding open to the creation of walk-in clinics where doctors could be flown in from other areas of the province for one day visits on a rotating basis.

Aside from health care, others issues raised included concerns over the cost of housing, class sizes in public schools, and the need to improve and widen the northern highway system.

He also noted he’s concerned about a protectionist Trump administration and the effects it could have on our trade dependent economy.

De Jong plans to deliver his fifth consecutive balanced budget,  noting B.C. is the envy of the country.

If you missed last nights call not to worry, de Jong says you can still get your questions in by accessing this web site.

You can also email the minister at fin.minister@gov.bc.ca or by calling 1-250-387-3751 until Jan. 30 at 4 p.m.


How much did this fiasco cost the taxpayers for 10 phone calls to get through?

BC citizens pay MSP premiums because they contracted out ALL of our medical services to a US. company called Maximus well over a decade ago does anyone remember the mass lay offs we experienced at that time? that also includes all your pharma-care, this province collects more in MSP and student loans payments than it takes from resource extractors, they get a free ride.. note how Mr. DeJong never mentions Maximus… a side note, nothing to do with MSP but if you want a Nexus pass that is as well contracted out to a US company

Maybe Christy and her collegues could start commuting on sheduled airline flights instead of private charter jet?
Maybe it is also time to cut politician salaries and rethink their pensions?
Maybe if we dont “have the money” to pay for things like medicare and schools, it is time to hold those who are in power accountable instead of dipping deeper into our empty pockets to fund such things….

Maybe it is time for change..real change.. not the “Trudeau version” or the Christy Clarke “Jobs program” style..
We are rich in natural resources, water and electricity. Yet we basically give it away. If Trump wants to play the protectionist card, then we should too. Turn off the cross border powerlines, water lines and kick out the American investors from our resource sector… you want our stuff.. time to pay!

    Hit it right on the head watchdog. They talk about premiums, high costs, gas taxes, etc. How about they talk about how THEY the Gov’t can save costs for the taxpayers. Their pensions, expense accounts and the list goes on, they are there to serve and assist the populace! Keep on forgetting that they are in there to benefit from all the perks, silly me!

    Here is an interesting read. Does it apply here.

    ht tps://rosebyanyothernameblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/us-public-sector-unions/

    Our Lib govt is already protectionist watchdog. They protect the interests of the rich.

Dues,premiums , user charges , tolls , are taxes by another name . Stop BSing BCers Mikie . The only ones that believe otherwise are you so called liberals . The only thing you righties are good at is lying about reality .

Instead of bragging that B.C. has the lowest personal income taxes just shift the MSP premiums over into income taxes!

One way or another the health care budget must get enough money into it! Do it like the other provinces!

Get it over with already and you might just win the provincial election this year!

They told a bunch of us when we retired that medical was included in out pension.
It was for a out a year then they billed us for it.
I’ll bet they won’t have to pay for theirs and they will be making a whole lot more on their pensions than I am .
Funny how politicians take care of themselves first and the rest of us if they have time.

    For those who may have forgotten, it was the NDP government of Dave Barrett who increased politician’s salaries, including his own. Which rose to an amount larger than the Prime Minister of Canada was getting at that time.

    Prior to Barrett, most MLA’s, if they weren’t Cabinet Ministers, (and WAC Bennett’s Cabinet was notoriously small), needed a regular job in their communities to make ends meet. Barrett’s regime was the start of the ‘professional politician’ era, which NONE of the governments that followed, no matter what Party, have ever sought to change. Indeed, I believe Christy Clark once wrote that she intended to have a career as a ‘professional politician’. I think that’s kind of a perversion of the whole idea of a representative and responsible democracy.

Completely agree with most of the comments on here, MSP premiums have doubled since the BC Liberals took office in 2001. When the Liberals were first elected under former premier Gordon Campbell in 2001, rates were $36/month for an individual. Now individual MSP premiums are over $72 per person, add to that increases in hydro rates, ICBC rates, etc. etc. etc. The BC Liberals would never call these taxes, yet public service user fee increases are essentially increases in taxes to us.

We need to get a government in that will follow the rest of Canada, by shifting MSP premiums to income taxes and adjust MSP fee amounts according to income levels. It’s time the rich started paying more, and the poor started paying less… to have someone making over $100K per year paying the same MSP premiums as a person making $24K per year is just not right, especially for something as basic as health care services.

ht tp://globalnews.ca/news/1159837/msp-premiums-will-have-doubled-since-liberals-took-power/

    Are medical services any better in the rest of Canada where they don’t pay MSP premiums directly? No overcrowded hospitals? No inordinately long wait times to get needed treatment? No trouble finding a full range of physicians and surgeons needed in more rural communities and smaller hospitals?

Bh it’s the rich most likely paying whatever social program you may be on.

    When BH has taxed the rich to the point that they aren’t anymore, and finds there’s still not enough dough to fund all he thinks should be funded, then who’s he going to tax? The ‘middle class’? Until they’re no longer ‘middle class’ anymore, and there’s still not enough dough? And then who’s he going to tax?

I remember Christy saying we would all have our own Doctor by now in the last election. It is typical of this government to contract out services so they can fill someone else’s pocket that contributed to their own political party. When is Christy back in court to deal with her sit down with the premier for $20,000?

“He added one option would be to move the premiums into the income tax system but warned that would increase taxes for British Columbians”

HUH? Exactly how would moving the premiums into the income tax system increase taxes? If you stop direct billing of MSP premiums by getting the money through the income tax system instead, you are simply changing the source of the funding for our MSP. Instead of robbing us from our left pocket you will be robbing the same amount of money from our right pockets.

You liberal supporters see what type of people you elected to handle your money?

    Because you only think inside the box. There are employees whose place of employment covers their MSP premiums. Putting into income tax is an increase in taxes depending how premiums are currently paid.

      Any employer I have ever worked for doesn’t cover MSP costs, those are a direct deduction from take home pay. It would be great if the employer covered that cost, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

      I think MSP should be covered by income taxes. Income taxes are progressive paid by means of income, where as MSP is regressive charging the same fee regardless of income. Those who earn very little above poverty rates pay the same MSP rate as millionaires and senior executives. At least with it included in income taxes the amount one pays would correspond with their level of income.

I heard on CKNW yesterday some think tanks and councillors in Vancouver talking about a proposal for lowering the income tax and sales tax for Vancouver area because of the high cost of housing in those areas… Arguing that since they have higher housing costs that those regions require a lower tax burden to be able to make the region more affordable to live there.

That’s what’s coming next for the BC liberals. A two their tax system for BC where house price bubble areas get to pay less taxes than for example the North where our housing costs haven’t been inflated selling our democracy to the highest bidder. And yet we get to pay their carbon tax too to heat a northern house and get the resources to market…..

Time for an independent province of New Caledonia in the North IMO.

One way to cut costs , Cut the Senate in half , they should be elected , there should be a age limit, and time limit. Like Duffy he should be home with his great grandchildren .

BC receives approx $6 billion annualy from the Federal Government for Health care, add to that the $2.5 billion paid in premiums and you get the Provincial Government paying $9.5 billion in health care costs. So while De Jong is correct in the amount spent, he is being less than honest by implying the $18 billion spent by BC comes from the Liberal Government.

When you do the math the Provincial Government spends approx $2000.00 per year per person in BC. Obviously they get this money from taxes.

The fact of the matter is they have been cutting health care costs, and increasing premiums to balance the budget, and they will do the same again this year.

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