THE Province has established a task force of experts to advise the government on eliminating Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums within four years, Finance Minister Carole James announced on Thursday.
“People know that MSP premiums are unfair and place significant burden on British Columbian families. Today, we are initiating a process that will eliminate these regressive fees,” James said. “By engaging a panel of respected experts in economics, law and public policy, we will ensure the path we take is fiscally responsible, fair and evidence-based.”
The MSP Task Force will examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from eliminating MSP premiums. Its final report is due to government by March 31, 2018. The task force’s work will include an opportunity for British Columbians, businesses, academics and other stakeholders to express their views. People are encouraged to bring their ideas to this consultation process at: engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/
Prof. Lindsay Tedds has been appointed as chair of the task force. Tedds is an associate professor in the school of public administration at the University of Victoria. She is a renowned expert in applied economic research and policy analysis, with a particular focus on the design and implementation of tax policy. Paul Ramsey and Prof. David Duff join Tedds on the task force.
The Budget 2017 Update announced the government’s plans to cut MSP premiums by 50%, effective January 1, 2018. This reduction will save individuals up to $450 per year, and families up to $900 per year. The budget update also raised the income threshold below which households are fully exempt from MSP premiums by $2,000.
This means senior couples with a net income up to $35,000 will pay no premiums in 2018. Single parents with two children and a net income up to $32,000 will pay no premiums.