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JUST THE FACTS: Health care premiums nothing short of a tax hike

EDMONTON, AB (January 30, 2013): An out of touch PC government is now floating the idea of re-introducing a health care premium tax on hardworking Alberta families after years of irresponsible and reckless spending. Premier Alison Redford is taking a divisive approach by suggesting that based on how contract talks go with physicians could have an impact on whether or not a health care premium tax is instituted.

However, a health care premium tax has no bearing on the impact of delivery of healthcare and is a wasteful and inefficient form of taxation. Here are the facts on this latest tax hike being posed by the PC government:

  • The revenues from the tax went into general revenues and were never used or designated for health care.
  • The tax hit lower and middle income earners the hardest.  MLAs were exempt from the tax, and while government subsidized very low income Albertans, and some employers were able to pay for the premiums of their employees, many hardworking Albertans were left to pay out of pocket.
  • The tax hit the bottom line of many Alberta businesses and reduced the income and benefits to their employees.
  • Collecting the tax was inefficient and cost the government millions upon millions of dollars.
  • The former healthcare premium tax is not a real insurance premium as every Albertan has access to the public healthcare system whether the tax is paid or not.  The tax is not adjusted for risk like true insurance premiums are.

“This government is the envy of every other province in Canada with almost $8 billion dollars in windfall revenue from our natural resources,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said.  “The last thing Albertans needs is a wasteful and punitive tax to pay for this government’s out of control spending.”