Letters to the Editor

Letter: Some pay MSP premiums while others subsidized

To the editor:

I’d like to respond to a letter to the editor discussing Medical Services Plan premiums (B.C. Keeps Increasing Seniors’ MSP Premium, Jan. 3 Capital News.)

Over the past 12 years, the provincial government has increased spending on health care by nearly 100 per cent. The most recent provincial budget forecasts health ministry spending will increase by more than $2.3 billion over the next three years. MSP premiums are one of the important ways that we pay for these increases and keep our publicly funded system sustainable.

People who are eligible for premium assistance will not be seeing a rate increase. Those who make less than $30,000 a year after deductions for such things as age, family size and disability, are eligible for premium assistance—and will continue to pay lower rates than in 2009.

Nearly one million British Columbians receive MSP subsidies; of those, more than 800,000 pay no MSP premiums at all. In fact, 37 per cent of all B.C. seniors received some level of premium assistance in 2012.

British Columbians can be proud of their health care system which has helped make B.C. a leader in many health-related areas. The life expectancy in British Columbia is the highest in Canada at 82 years. We have the overall best cancer survival rates in Canada. B.C. also has the lowest smoking rates in Canada, at 13.2 per cent. Much of this success can be attributed to our health care system and our health promotion programs, all of which are partially paid for by MSP premiums.

Terry Lake,

Minister of Health, Province of British Columbia

 

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