Tuesday, March 14, 2017

North Coast MLA calls MSP premiums an unfair tax; reaffirms NDP calls for removal

The theme of eliminating the fees associated with the province's Medical Services Plan was explored Monday morning at the British Columbia Legislature as North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice addressed the Liberal Government's plans for the medical plan.

With Ms. Rice taking note that, with an election campaign about to get underway, its a timely thing for the Liberals to call for the fee removals as the race to the May 9th vote begins to take shape.

The Legislature is holding discussion on a private member's motion on MSP premiums during this session and on Monday morning, a look back at the impact of year after year of MSP fees on BC residents was reviewed.

For her contribution to the discussion Ms Rice outlined some of the financial burdens that have been faced and how the Liberal proposal for a half cut, is to the NDP merely a half measure.

For 15 years, the Liberal government has been increasing this unfair tax, and average people, working people, have had to pay for it. The average family has been paying $933 more per year. Now they're cutting it in half, right before an election. That's a half-measure, and it's not good enough. This Premier has no plan to finish that job. 

She's looking out for the people at the top while making it harder for the rest of us who are trying to make ends meet. She has increased MSP for hard-working families every single year since she became Premier. It's more than doubled since the B.C. Liberals have been in power.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
spoke to MSP issues on Monday
Ms. Rice also noted the financial toll the current system has delivered on British Columbians and the stress and strain that is found for BC families, seniors and those with low incomes in the province.

As for the Liberal promise towards a gradual elimination of the MSP fee system, Ms. Rice, noted that the goal of a fee free MSP program has long been part of the NDP narrative,  reminding the Legislature of the mixed message that the government has delivered on the theme of health care in just the last fifteen months.

This Premier, this tax, is all about an election right now. 

This is about trying to make bad headlines go away — trying to make British Columbians forget how they've been gouged. 

In January of 2016, this Premier said: "One of the reasons British Columbia has an MSP system, and has had it for a long, long time, has been to remind people that health care isn't a free service in our province". 

Now, a year later, she's saying: "Everybody knows MSP premiums don't go to pay for health care."

You can review her full statement to the Legislature on MSP from the Legislature Hansard record for Monday morning here, her comments are found around the 11:25 mark.

The discussion on Motion Seven, a Private Member's motion on MSP premiums will be part of the legislative workload for this session, as MLA's outline their notes on the topic and address the range of issues related to the health care system.

For more items of note related to the Legislature see our Legislature archive page here, while themes of interest for the upcoming Provincial election are reviewed on our North Coast Votes Archive page.

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