LETTER: Changes to MSP a net benefit to taxpayers

LETTER: Changes to MSP a net benefit to taxpayers

Re: Saanich councillor speaks ill of new health tax in the May 9 Saanich News. What new health tax? When and why did MSP premiums change from a premium, to a tax?

As of the last provincial budget, an individual’s MSP premium has been reduced by $450 per year, or for families by $900. The $450 cost has been shifted from an individual paying a premium to paying a so-called tax through the payroll system.

Why has it become a tax? It is exactly the same thing. It is something being paid out of after tax dollars from one’s bank account to after tax dollars being paid at source. The amount is the same, it is being paid by the same public, it is going to the same place to benefit the same public.

Not long ago, we had a prime minister who told an adoring audience, “There is no such thing as a good tax.” There is “No free lunch.” The public pays for health care and the health care is for the public. If it is not paid one way, then it will be paid in some other fashion.

In backward countries like the U.S., they choose a combination of user pay and/or through the private sector for-profit insurance companies. The people pay for health care.

The BC NDP-led government, in their last budget, did just that, however, we still see headlines such as, “… new health tax.”

It is not new. It is not a tax. Yes, it might increase municipal tax rate a little. But the savings of MSP premiums that no longer have to be paid will still leave more money in the hands of taxpayers. It is also a more efficient and cheaper way for the MSP premiums to become part of the health care budget. Not only do the taxpayers end up with more money in their pockets, MSP ends up with more money in their coffers. There will be less delinquency – again benefitting the public.

Instead of crying about a minor increase on our property bill, we would be happy that both ourselves (the public) and the B.C. Medical Services Plan (the public) end up with more money. The losers? Well maybe the banks, the post office (fewer mailed premium notices, few mail delayed payment notices), the collection agencies (might be able to add some lawyers’ fees on to that), and the few in the public who can afford to pay but manage to squeak through the cracks and not pay.

Tax is not a four-letter word. Most of the public receives good value for the money spent on behalf of the public good.

R.D. Townsend