B.C. Greens will scrap unfair MSP Premiums

Vancouver, B.C.– Pete Fry, B.C. Green Party Candidate For Vancouver–Mount Pleasant, announced today that a B.C. Green Party government will eliminate the regressive monthly MSP premiums.

Currently, MSP premiums are charged to anyone who lives in B.C. for six months or longer and requires them to pay monthly premiums for health care coverage. If you earn $30,000 a year in British Columbia, you are paying the same rate for MSP Premiums as someone who is earning $3,000,000 a year, making MSP premiums a regressive tax on British Columbians.

“The issue of MSP premiums is symptomatic of a larger problem facing a growing number of B.C. households,” said Fry. “The growing unaffordability and inequality in our province is only getting worse — with almost one in five British Columbians living in poverty. Clearly politics as usual are not working.”

Instead of charging MSP premiums, a B.C. Green government would introduce a progressive system in which rates are determined by one’s earnings. A net administrative savings to taxpayers would arise in rolling MSP premiums into the existing income tax system.

“On the doorstep here in my riding of Vancouver–Mount Pleasant, I'm hearing from more and more regular working families who are truly struggling to get by,” said Fry. “The recent increase in property assessments, which has increased up to 30% for some households, has certainly magnified that anxiety. Eliminating MSP premiums in favour of a progressive income-based solution is an important step towards a much-needed poverty reduction strategy for B.C.”

Back in 2000, the MSP premium for a single individual was $36/month. Today, that same individual pays more than twice as much, now up to $75/month. Since 2010 alone there has been a 40% increase. For a family of three, the new rate as of January 1st 2016 is $150/month, up from $142/month.

The B.C. Green Party is pledging to follow the path taken by Ontario in 2004 when they introduced their version of medical service premiums, making them part of the progressive income tax system.