Premiums and cuts both wrong for Alberta health care

February 19, 2015

Yesterday Finance Minister Robin Campbell said the government is "keen" on the idea of bringing back health care premiums.

"Health care premiums are a regressive tax that disproportionately affects lower and middle income Albertans," said Joel French, spokesperson for Friends of Medicare. "The Finance Minister is confusing Albertans' demand to see sufficient and sustained investment in public health care with a desire to pay health care premiums. Albertans do want their public health care protected and improved, but returning to regressive health care premiums is another matter entirely. If they want to be fair, they need to take a hard look at our current tax structure and seriously consider getting rid of the flat income tax."

The government's messaging, including its survey on Alberta's fiscal situation, made it clear they see cuts to health care as a necessity.

"Albertans cannot afford cuts to health care," continued French. "Albertans expect access to high quality public health care no matter what the price of oil is. Health care spending as a percentage of GDP has been remarkably stable for decades. Instead of looking at cuts, the government needs to come up with a fair way to fix its revenue problem. Health care premiums are not the answer, and cuts to health care are not the answer."