Advertisement

Poll: Should Alberta reinstate health care premiums?

Poll: Should Alberta reinstate health care premiums? - image
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

CALGARY- A vote by Alberta PC party members to look at reinstating health care premiums is reopening the debate on whether Albertans should help pay for their health care.

PC members voted in favour of opening a discussion on bringing back premiums at their convention in Red Deer on the weekend.

The premiums were scrapped in 2008  by the Stelmach government.  At the time Alberta was awash in oil revenues and Stelmach said Albertans should share in the province’s prosperity.

It’s estimated that decision costs the province about $1 billion annually – money the province could use now with a growing budget deficit.

Story continues below advertisement

Talk of reinstating the premiums has opposition critics up in arms.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.
For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.

Get breaking National news

For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

“It was an unfair tax,” says Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. “They were right to eliminate it. It says a lot about where the PC party is these days – that one of the major recommendations coming out of their conference this weekend is to increase taxes.”

NDP leader Brian Mason says while health care premiums aren’t the solution to increasing government revenue, getting rid of the flat tax could be.

“If we got rid of the flat tax, we could bring in the revenue we need rather than bring in an even worse tax which is the so-called health care premium.”

Health Minister Fred Horne says the party vote is not binding on the government.

“Where we are as government today is no different than where we were on Friday.”

“We’re not really interested in increasing revenue,” adds Horne. ” We’re looking to get better value for dollars we are spending.”

Finance Minister Doug Horner clarifed the government’s position during question period at the legislature when he said the government has no intention of bringing back the premiums.

-with files from Fletcher Kent

Advertisement

Sponsored content

AdChoices