Manitobans must pay health premiums or face cuts to services: premier

Published on September 13, 2017

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says people in the province have a choice: start paying health-care premiums or prepare for cuts to health services.

Pallister announced a series of public consultations that will take place in advance of next year's budget, and a health-care premium is among the main topics.

Pallister says the premium is in essence a tax increase and would be tied to income taxes if it is implemented.

He says his Progressive Conservative government has little choice because federal health transfer payments are not keeping up with the rising cost of care.

But Pallister says the government is standing by its commitment to cut the provincial sales tax by one percentage point before the next election expected in 2020.

Many other provinces already charge premiums, which can cost hundreds of dollars per year.

The government has launched an online pre-budget survey that says not instituting a health-care premium would lead to reductions in health services.

Pallister says there will also be public meetings on this and other budget ideas in the coming months.

The Canadian Press