Categorized | National News

REPORT ON NHI FUNDING LATE

The National Health Insurance board has missed its deadline to submit a crucial report that could would suggest various recommendations including the introduction of a new tax to fund the multi-million dollar National Health Insurance.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said although the report was supposed to be done last year, he is working with his staff to ensure that the report is completed in short order.

“We are nine days pass the end of the year, so I am putting the pressure on my very competent hardworking NHI board to come to the public and say this is what we’re going to deal with,” Dr. Sands said.

He said the board had some challenges.

“They were waiting on the very important opinion from the Attorney General ’s office. As I would have had direct conversation with the AG, I know what is in the report, but we still need the physical report for the board,” Dr. Sands said.

He added that about $40 million was set aside for NHI, but that was reduced.

“Roughly $15 million was budgeted for NHI’S for primary care and $15 million for catastrophic health care; another $10 million to run the programme. However, this fiscal year, that budget was slashed by 10 per cent to about $36 million,” Dr. Duane Sands

He said figuring out how to pay for NHI is important.

“Paying for it means that because we are running a fiscal deficit and have been doing so every year since 1971, any new benefit, we need to figure out where the new money is going to come from,” Dr. Sands said.

He added that finding the funds means Bahamians would have to dig deep.

“What we have promised is that we are going to eliminate a lot of the waste in the healthcare system so that they get value for money,” Dr. Sands said.

At last count, nearly 30,000 people were benefitting from NHI daily.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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