MSP Task Force Submission

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January 31, 2018

The Kamloops and District Labour Council, representing 13,000 unionized workers with a mandate to advance the economic and social welfare of everyone in an equitable society. As such, we wish to submit our position on eliminating the Medical Services Premium, to the Government of BC.

The MSP, a regressive and unfair tax that disproportionality impacts workers at the low to medium wage brackets, was doubled under the former BC Liberal Government at the same time that business and the top income earners were given billion dollar tax cuts. Shockingly, more money was being collected through MSP than through corporate business taxes.

We understand that people would be more inclined to pay higher fees to protect our treasured health care services, however, as the higher MSP fees went directly into general revenue, health care services were cut or privatized, wait lists and wait times grew, and access to primary care and therefore the health care system, diminished dramatically.

The members of the KDLC are encouraging the BC Government to eliminate the MSP entirely and expediently by rolling the premiums into progressive personal and business tax structures to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.

All businesses benefit greatly from having a healthy workforce that has access to timely medical services in the form of increased productivity and decreased absences, however, only some employers currently provide MSP coverage for employees. A more fair system would have all businesses share in the costs through increased tax with lower rates for smaller businesses.

We are also encouraged by this Government’s mandate of implementing a poverty reduction plan which could include the elimination of MSP and progressive taxation. As well, upstream strategies to reducing poverty will have a huge impact on reducing health care costs, but also policing, judicial, mental health, and other vital public services.

BC is the only remaining province to charge this fee as other jurisdictions have successfully eliminated it without any overall loss to provincial revenue. We thank the BC Government for its commitment to do the same.

Kind Regards,
Barb Nederpel

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