Friday, May 16, 2014

The government is moving ahead with a National Health Insurance (NHI) plan / universal health scheme

Gibson: Gov’t Will Meet NHI 2016 Deadline

By Korvell Pyfrom
The Bahama Journal

Despite tough scrutiny from the Opposition over its ability to implement the much touted National Health Insurance (NHI) plan, Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson yesterday assured that the government is moving ahead with establishing the universal health scheme.

However, Mr. Gibson who has repeatedly been quizzed by the press about how much the government is paying a Costa Rican based firm contracted to consult the government on the plan’s implementation, was still unable to provide any figures.

“We’re not operating in a vacuum as soon as we have all the information and we are ready to release the information we will release it,” Mr. Gibson said to reporters outside of Cabinet Tuesday. “It makes no sense to me personally, to release information bits and pieces at a time.

“As soon as we are ready to release the appropriate information through the appropriate means then we will do so, but at this time we are not going to be releasing information every time the committee meets.”

The administration has announced January 2016 as the deadline for its rollout of NHI, but earlier this week Mr. Gibson announced that elements of the plan will be implemented ahead of that date.

Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Chairman Dr. Duane Sands is among those skeptical of the plan ever coming to fruition and recently he said that the government’s track record on meeting its deadline makes it highly unlikely that NHI will ever come to reality.

But Mr. Gibson dismissed these assertions and suggested Dr. Sands is a man desperate to be elected.

“It is very difficult for me to keep responding to an always rejected man who wants to be a politician. He is at his best when he is criticising and I’m not going to endorse or authenticate what he says by responding to it,” he said.

“As soon as he is able to be elected in parliament and the people say that we want you, I will speak to him.”

The government contracted Costa Rican based Sanigest Internacional healthcare and management consultancy firm in March to provide a costing, benefits package and payment modalities report within three months.

Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez has announced that the report is expected to be completed in early July.

May 14, 2014

Jones Bahamas