Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Phillips says tax on health insurance the worst element of tax package

Published:Monday | March 13, 2017 | 3:15 AM
Audley Shaw (right), minister of finance and public service, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller (centre) and Dr Peter Phillips, opposition spokesman on finance, meet just before Shaw opened the 2017-2018 Budget Debate at Gordon House in Kingston on March 9.

Opposition spokesman on Finance, Dr Peter Phillips, has labelled the tax on health insurance payments as one of the worst elements of the tax package unveiled last week.

Speaking in Westmoreland last evening, Phillips used words such as scam and cruel betrayal in reference to the tax measures announced.

However, he said the tax on health insurance was the worst especially given the state of Jamaica’s public health system, which is already overburdened.

 

Opposition spokesman on finance, Dr Peter Phillips

Phillips suggested the General Consumption Tax on health insurance will limit health coverage for workers.

 

Opposition spokesman on finance, Dr Peter Phillips

Tax services leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Brian Denning, has also raised concern about the tax on health insurance.

In a newsletter reviewing the latest tax measures, Denning noted that historically, health insurance has been exempt from general consumption tax because it is desirable for persons to provide for healthcare for themselves and their families.

He says it’s desirable because it ultimately reduces the burden placed on the State.

Denning argues that the new move appears to run counter to this principle as employer-based and funded schemes are often be the difference between someone having health insurance coverage or not.

However, Denning notes that further clarification is needed from the Government on this issue.