The Early Edition · CBC News February 15, 2016
The idea of collecting medical premiums is dated but one that persists because governments don’t like raising taxes, especially not for the wealthier portion of the population, says one health policy expert.
More than 62,000 people have signed a petition calling for an end to MSP premiums in B.C., with both the Green Party and the NDP echoing the demand. But the B.C. government has said no big changes to the MSP are coming because taxpayers will not understand that their money is going toward healthcare if medicare premiums are integrated into income tax collection.
But one health policy researcher says British Columbians are smart enough to understand some of their income tax needs to go toward healthcare programs.
“I think Canadians know that. It’s the equivalent of saying that Canadians need to know the roads we’re driving on aren’t free,” said Steve Morgan, a professor of health policy in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC.
Increasing taxes by 1.5 per cent would be enough to cover the $2.3 billion worth of MSP premiums the government currently collects, according to Morgan.