WATCH: Ucluelet woman starts petition to make MSP payments fair for low and middle income families
There’s growing support for scrapping British Columbia’s high MSP premiums, which have risen almost 40 per cent in just the last seven years alone.
“It’s a regressive tax and it’s completely unfair to charge someone making $30,000 the same amount as someone who is making $3 million,” says Ucluelet’s Michelle Coulter, who started the Abolish MSP Premiums in B.C. petition.
The MSP premium petition, which was started last month, already has more than 15,000 signatures.
“I’m not surprised,” Coulter says. “People have had enough and it’s time for Christy Clark to stop her bullying tactics and start listening to us taxpayers.”
Saanich psychiatrist Lori Vogt is one of the people who signed the petition. Dr. Vogt says she’s become increasingly concerned about the stress high MSP premiums are putting on low to middle income B.C. families.
“I have families in my practice who are working, they’re not on social assistance of any type, and they’re going to food banks,” Dr. Vogt says. “That’s abysmal in this province that we can’t even feed our kids.”
Medical Services Plan rates increased this year to $150 a month for families of three or more and $75 a month for singles for anyone making $30,000 a year or more.
“If you’re going to have to choose between paying the rent, paying groceries, maybe a dental bill or something like that you’re going to do that before you pay MSP premiums and I think it happens more often than people realize,” Dr. Vogt says.
BC’s Green Party also started a petition last year, which now has around 7,000 signatures.
“I think British Columbia has recognized it’s not right and every other province in the country has recognized it’s not right,” says Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.
Weaver wants premiums collected through income tax and linked to income so if you make more, you pay more.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is also calling for a ‘MSP tax freeze’, saying rates have risen faster than inflation — and health care costs.
Dr Vogt just hopes something will be done soon, before more B.C. families are forced to make tough choices.