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Govt still committed to NHI

The government remains committed to expanding National Health Insurance (NHI), Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.

“Six months from now, we will revisit this and make a determination as to when we can expand to catastrophic care,” Sands said.

He continued, “I believe that it remains something that the public finds appealing.”

The minister added that there is no question that “accessing certain sophisticated health services is expensive”.

“At the same time, solidarity and shared expenses is something that requires a contribution from the public,” he said.

“And the public, while they are happy to have additional services, are not so happy to pay for it.”

Sands has previously said that the expansion of NHI would be delayed. It was initially slated to launch in July 2020.

“We would’ve made a commitment in our manifesto that this is something that we’re committed to,” Sands said.

“Bear in mind that there are many things that we would like to do. We, as an administration, would’ve been criticized about the expansion of scholarships for UB (University of The Bahamas) and here it is it’s happening this year at a significant investment by the Bahamian public.

“As we expand these services, they come with a price tag and so while we may not be able to do it this week or this month, it doesn’t mean we’ve separated ourselves from the goal to get it done.”

The Christie administration introduced the primary care phase of NHI on May 1, 2017.

It did so with no public insurer in place and no known means of funding the program.

The former government originally committed $24 million to catastrophic care, but soon said it recognized the need to increase it to as much as $30 million.

According to the most recent plan for NHI, the program would be funded by contributions from businesses.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) estimates that the annual premium per employee would be $1,000 per year or $84 per month.

Employees earning more than $66,667 will pay the entire premium.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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