Eliminate the MSP payments and increase income tax

Editorial

Tuesday, January 12 2016

The idea that low and middle income British Columbians should pay lower MSP payments is laudable. 

The BC government is milking the MSP cow for entirely too much, filling the coffers with payments ostensibly made so we can all have equal access to public health care.

There are MLAs from both the NDP and BC Green Party petitioning for a lowering or elimination of MSP payments for low and middle class taxpayers.

Tiering health care payments by tying them to household incomes is a very tiny - but very significant - step towards tiering the health care system.

Those who believe the ‘rich’ and powerful control the system should beware of giving those same people justification for spending more on health care infrastructure and programs for the well-to-do.

What needs to be done instead is an overall reduction in MSP payments.

If we’re going to attempt to balance tax dollars paid by the poor and the rich, that should be done at the basic provincial tax level. The BC Government loves to boast about having one of the lowest personal income tax rates in the country.

Rather than keeping income tax rates down, and then increasing MSP payments, the government should be doing away with the MSP payments all together and simply raising income tax rates. Disguising an increase in taxes in the MSP payments is an insult to taxpayers. And an ‘equal’ increase to MSP impacts taxpayers on the lower end of the income scale than those on the upper.

Allowing the rich to contribute more to the system will only allow the rich to say they should get more out of the system.

A cornerstone of an equal opportunity health care system has to be an equal contribution. 

Unfortunately, the current BC Government is not likely to eliminate MSP payments in favour of an income tax increase.