Are BC Taxpayers Getting Short Changed When it Comes to Subsidizing Medical Malpractice Insurance?
The above image was taken from the BC Government Website where they recently launched a “budget calculator” permitting the public to play around with various tax revenues and expenditures. The calculator is far from complete, however, leaving many expenses out of bounds. One expense which is absent is the CMPA fee subsidy.
I recently wrote how BC taxpayers subsidize the defence of doctors in medical malpractice lawsuits. This issue has also received media scrutiny by legal reporter and former lawyer Alan Shanoff. I questioned the propriety of this given the long term under-funding of legal aid and BC’s Justice System.
It seems that Ontario taxpayers will be receiving a break from this subsidy in 2012. A longstanding reader of my blog who does not care to be named notes that taxpayers in Ontario will not be on the hook for CMPA fees for 2012.
The CMPA reports that “The payment of medical liability protection costs in Ontario is guided by two agreements. Firstly and as is the case in other provinces, Ontario physicians benefit from a program that reimburses them for a portion of their CMPA membership fees…For members, the substantial reduction in total CMPA fees translates into individual fees for 2012 that are at, or below, 1986 levels. As the reimbursement program is based on a 1986 threshold, the program will be suspended for 2012 while members “out-of-pocket” costs will remain consistent with previous years. ”
As things stand BC taxpayers will not get the same benefit with the public continuing to subsidize CMPA membership fees despite the CMPA “holding $572 million in unrestricted net assets”. I again ask who is a better beneficiary of the $50 plus million dollars the BC Government has used to subsidize liability insurance dues, the CMPA with half a billion dollars in unrestricted net assets, or BC’s poorest who require legal aid to gain access to justice?