The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News

BC Pays a ‘Huge Premium’ for Contracting Out Health Admin: Analyst

Cost of Maximus contract has ballooned over its 10-year term.

By Andrew MacLeod 29 Mar 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2015). Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

When looking at how payments to a private contractor to administer the Medical Service Plan and Pharmacare programs have ballooned, the real comparison should be to what it would cost the B.C. government to do the work itself, says a former government policy analyst.

“It’s a huge, huge premium we’re paying for this, compared to what it would cost if we were doing it in house,” said Don Scott, a retired civil servant who worked for MSP from 1998 to 2004.

The Tyee reported in December on a health ministry report that found the cost of the contract with Maximus B.C. Health Inc., signed as part of a post-2001 wave of outsourcing, had grown by 50 per cent over its 10-year term.

When the government and the company entered the deal starting in 2005, it was to have a fixed value of $324 million. “The total value of payments to Maximus over the same term is $489 million, an increase of approximately 50 per cent over the original 10-year cost,” the ministry’s report found.

A ministry spokesperson said the cost had increased due to policy and program changes, the implementation of major projects, and the increased risks associated with them.

Changes also included implementing new programs, such as the smoking cessation program announced in 2011 to fulfill a promise Premier Christy Clark made during her BC Liberal leadership campaign.

Scott said that while it’s damning that the contract has cost so much more than expected, comparing the expense to what the government used to spend to do the work makes the picture appear even worse.

According to the Medical Service Commission’s financial statements for the year that ended March 31, 2001, administration cost the government less than $25 million.

“They privatized it and it went to almost $40 million overnight,” Scott said.

The Tyee reported in 2009 that the annual cost had escalated to $42.1 million by 2008 and $51.2 million by 2009.

At the time a health ministry spokesperson said the government was satisfied with Maximus’ performance and the cost had grown as the parties negotiated improvements to service, including increased requirements to protect personal health information.

The government has since renewed the contract with Maximus for another five years and the cost has continued to grow. According to the public accounts for 2015-2016, the B.C. government paid Maximus B.C. Health Inc. nearly $68 million that year.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll