I got a bill in the mail today. I get the same one every month and it is not trivial. $54. Everyone in BC has to pay this fee. Many people have it paid for them by their employers - who often will also chip in to a private plan to cover the essential healthcare costs that are not covered by our public health care plan. Prescription medications, dental and eye care. All of which are not some kind of bonus benefit but essential to maintaining good health.
We Canadians like to think that our system is better than the Americans. Which is true, but hardly remarkable. The Cubans have a better heath care system that the Americans!
It is not as if BC is desperately short of money - we have even managed to find our way out of being a "have not" province and every year, isn't it marvellous, we have another budget surplus bigger than was expected. Yet seven (out of ten) other provinces levy no fee at all. Because we have a publicly funded system that is based on taxes, not flat fees. Because income based taxes are progressive. Those who have plenty pay more than those who have little. Yes there is "premium assistance" for those who cannot pay - but that is not the same as health care that is free to everybody but paid for out of taxes.
There is a provincial election coming up next year. Any party that promises to scrap MSP premiums will get my vote