No MSP premiums by 2020: NDP introduces legislation years after campaign promise
The provincial government introduced plans to eliminate MSP premiums Thursday, though most of the details released were already known.
Two years after winning the election on a campaign that included the complete elimination of medical services plan premiums, the provincial government introduced legislation to make good on its promise.
The NDP government made the announcement Thursday, though most of the details released were already known. British Columbians will no longer pay the MSP premiums as of Jan. 1, 2020.
The MSP program will continue to provide health benefits, and residents of the province are still expected to enrol.
The government estimates the move will save about $900 a year for individuals and up to $1,800 a year for families.
Under the title "Medicare Protection Amendment Act 2019," the NDP would take out sections of the previous act related to the premiums.
The legislation would also amend parts of the act that give power to the Medical Services Commission, a nine-member board that sets and collects premiums.
The MSC will continue its other responsibilities, including enrolment of residents in MSP and collecting unpaid bills, the province said in a statement.
"After years of MSP premium increases, our government is proud to be moving forward in meeting our promise to end this regressive tax," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in the statement.
"Through this legislation, our government will eliminate MSP premiums in January 2020 and make life more affordable for British Columbians."
Minister of Finance Carole James called the legislation "one of the largest tax cuts for people in B.C.'s history."