The B.C. government announced Thursday that it has established a task force to advise on eliminating Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums within four years.
The three-member panel has until March 31, 2018, to submit its final report on how to replace the revenue that will be lost by eliminating the premiums by 2021.
The government said the task force must provide options that would result in a more progressive tax system. The options can not include retaining the MSP premiums or increasing the provincial sales tax (PST).
During the budget update in September, the provincial government said starting on Jan. 1, 2018, MSP premiums will be cut by 50 per cent for everyone. The income threshold below which households are fully exempt from MSP premiums was raised by $2,000. Most adults currently pay a $75 monthly premium for healthcare services.
READ MORE: 50% MSP reduction, tax increases part of B.C.’s budget update
Removing the MSP premiums within four years was a key election promise by the B.C. NDP. B.C. is the only province in Canada where residents pay a monthly healthcare premium.
The chair of the task force is Lindsay Tedds, an associate professor in the school of public administration at the University of Victoria. Paul Ramsey former NDP MLA and University of British Columbia law professor David Duff are also part of the task force.
Residents are also invited to share their own ideas on replacing the Medical Services Plan (MSP). The deadline to submit feedback is Jan. 31, 2018 at 4 p.m.