Liberals can’t prove they’re delivering high quality medical care, despite doubling medical tax

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VICTORIA – Despite doubling medical services taxes, the Liberal government can’t prove it is delivering high quality medical care to British Columbians, say the New Democrats.

Auditor General Russ Jones issued a report Thursday showing that the Liberal government can’t demonstrate that physician services are high quality, nor can they demonstrate that the money provided for physician services is cost effective.

“This is an incredibly damning indictment of Liberal mismanagement,” said New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy. “Payment to doctors takes up nine per cent of the annual provincial budget, but the Liberals have no idea if that money is being spent wisely.

“We know we have great doctors in British Columbia,” said Darcy. “The issue here is the failure of the Liberals to assess physician excellence. How can they make improvements to the service when they have no way of measuring performance?”

Since the Liberals took office in 2001, medical services taxes for individuals have doubled from $432 to $864 annually, and for families, they have doubled to $1,738. In 2012, Premier Christy Clark promised that increases in medical services taxes would only keep pace with increases in health spending. In the last two years, the tax has increased by 4 per cent, while health spending has risen 2.6 per cent.