NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Canadian Reports Calls for New Taxes to Fund Health Care

November 12, 2002

A Canadian senate committee report on health reform calls for a number of controversial proposals as well as an additional $5-billion annual infusion from taxpayers. "The Health of Canadians-The Federal Role: Recommendations for Reform," is a 381-page document on ways to improve Canadian health care.

The document's central thesis is that new funds must be raised. There are several ways to do it.

  • A 1.5 percent national health-care sales tax can be added to the current 7 percent goods and services tax (GST) but earmarked for health.
  • A variable national health-care insurance premium ranging from C$185 a year for those with taxable annual incomes less than C$31,677, to C$1,400 for those earning more than C$103,000 could be imposed.
  • The stated purpose of the new health care tax "to make the publicly funded system financially sustainable and avert the emergence of a parallel private health-care system."

According to Sen. Michael Kirby, chairman of the panel that prepared the report, "the time has come for Canadians to balance their desire for more and better health-care services against their willingness to pay for them. The choice is theirs."

The report spelled out ways to increase Canada's physician supply through an annual federal contribution of $160 million to increase first-year medical school enrollment nationwide by 650 to 2,500 positions by 2005. In addition, the reports proposed adopting short-term tax incentives to entice expatriates home.

Source: Matt Borsellino, "Kirby Report Calls for Self-Sufficient Physician Supply," Medical Post, November 5, 2002.


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