Categorized | National News

Rollins Bashes Gov’t Over NHI

Fort Charlotte Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Andre Rollins yesterday bashed the government’s plan to implement National Health Insurance (NHI) accusing it of trying to roll out something that already exists.

Mr. Rollins, during the debate in the Lower Chamber on the proposed legislation yesterday morning, said Bahamians are already receiving health services free of charge.

“We have primary health care services being provided free of charge in our public health system today. But this, as it was in 2006 is an election ease gimmick to have Bahamians believe that you are deliberate on your political campaign promises. Because nothing that you are proposing will prevent the sponsor sheet or the desperate acts of the poor,” said Dr. Rollins.

Meantime, the Fort Charlotte MP questioned the feasibility of what the government proposes.

“How is less than 10 per cent, approximately six per cent of government spend, supposed to support what is now the most pressing concern to Bahamians who are incapable of affording health care in this country… $24 million, when the state is now spending $400 million,” Dr. Rollins asked.

In response, Prime Minister Perry Christie explained that concentration is now on healthy lifestyles, in an effort to reduce the occurrences of catastrophic illnesses.

Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez during yesterday’s debate outlined the framework and rationale on which the NHI Bill was formed.

Dr. Gomez suggested that the ideal course of action would be to implement an entire range of services from the onset; however he admitted that such a venture would not be feasible.

Therefore, the government’s focus is to first roll out primary health care.

“We estimate that we provide the primary care NHI benefits package to all eligible beneficiaries. We will need about $100 million a year. This amount will be adjusted each year to reflect increases in the benefits package; the impact of inflation as well as changes in the demand of health services. These estimates have been validated by at least three external entities that constitute a significant increase in the availability of the resources for the population. This money will be transferred to the newly established National Health Insurance Authority,” Dr. Gomez explained.

Meanwhile, the health minister advised individuals with existing private health insurance to maintain their packages.

“What it does is that gives you an opportunity to renegotiate your private plan, because you’re unable to only pay for the services not thoroughly included under NHI. This may not totally reduce the cost of your insurance, but it may allow a greater number of Bahamians access to private health insurance at lower rates,” Dr. Gomez said.

About 200,000 Bahamians are reportedly without health insurance.

This proposed legislation seeks to repeal the national insurance act of 2007.

The government said its aim is to offer modern, equitable and affordable healthcare in the country.

NHI was officially launched this year with the beginning of the registration process, before the NHI Bill 2016 was debated in Parliament.

Last year, the government had projected that primary health care would have rolled out between March and April, but had subsequently been put off to about six months after that initial date.







Written by Jones Bahamas

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