Former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister says patients should co-pay for health care

SASKATOON – A former Saskatchewan finance minister says the time has come for patients to cough up some of the cost for care. 

Janice MacKinnon says in a study commissioned by the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute that rising health-care costs are crowding out spending in other areas such as education. 

MacKinnon, who is a professor of fiscal policy at the University of Saskatchewan, says it’s time for co-payments. 

But she rejects the idea of user fees, saying they could discourage people from seeking care. 

MacKinnon says the best way to levy the costs would be to use the income-tax system with a ceiling at three per cent of income. 

She also says more use of private clinics, home care, long-term and chronic care facilities would be more affordable than hospitals.