Categorized | Featured, National News

NHI Will Be Rolled Out Ahead Of Schedule, Says Gibson

Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson said yesterday that elements of the government’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) will be implemented ahead of the new January 2016 deadline.

Mr. Gibson said the government is serious about ensuring that all Bahamians have access to healthcare.

Last week, State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis announced in the House of Assembly that implementation for NHI has been set for January 2016, some three years after the initial implementation date.

The first Christie administration had begun initial steps to implement the programme ahead of being voted out of office in 2007.

And despite critics’ uncertainty that the administration will be complete the programme during this term in office, Mr. Gibson said yesterday that the public will see aspects of the scheme ahead of schedule.

“Not only are we going to hit the deadline, we are going to introduce some elements of that even before that date,” Mr. Gibson said. “Before January 1, 2016, we will introduce some elements to show that we are serious about introducing this National Health Insurance.

“We saw a report the other day that showed that in 2010, 720 Bahamians died unnecessarily because they did not have the access to care and so we are going to make sure that you have universal access to health insurance here in The Bahamas where nobody dies because they cannot afford basic healthcare.”

The government has again hired Costa Rican-based consultancy firm, Sanigest Internacional.

The firm previously advised the administration on the implementation of NHI.

The administration has not indicated what the firm is being paid and while its decision to engage the firm once again has been criticised, Mr. Gibson explained that it is a reputable company with experience in this process.

“If we have a Bahamian right now who led any country into National Health Insurance any two, three or four countries, we want you right now, bring your skills to the table and come and see me,” Mr. Gibson said.

“We have somebody who took 60 countries through this process already so all we have to do now is use that same person to help us.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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