NDP Introduce Bill to Ban Health Care Premiums

October 10, 2018

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Health Critic Andrew Swan called on the Pallister government to keep health care affordable and accessible for families by committing to support an NDP bill to ban health premiums. Swan introduced the bill in the Legislature this afternoon with the support of Brianne Goertzen, provincial director of the Manitoba Health Coalition.

“Last year Brian Pallister threatened to bring in a premium on health care for Manitoba families, walked it back and then refused to completely rule it out,” said Kinew. “Health premiums are taxes that unfairly burden low- and middle-income individuals and families. We urge the Pallister government to be clear with Manitobans and say once and for all if he plans to introduce health premiums at any point.”

Health premiums are a significant burden for families in provinces across the country, costing some families as much as $1,200. In Ontario, families earning $25,000 to $36,000 pay a health premium or tax of $300 a year. Swan noted that progressive provinces like B.C. and Alberta have already worked to lower or eliminate premiums. The Pallister government has already privatized primary care services like outpatient physiotherapy.

These forays into privatization have come after the Premier announced a plan to close three emergency rooms and an urgent care clinic in Winnipeg. The Premier has cuts millions from regional health authorities across the province and caused chaos among front line health care workers.

“Manitoba families reject two-tier, American style health care. Every person deserves access to quality care no matter how much money they have.” Swan said. “The Premier is systematically privatizing our health care system, and premiums would be yet another burden on families. He must clearly reject them and stand with families.”