What is wrong with our legislators? We all know why the National Health Insurance system is failing. It’s because the private medical facilities increased their fees by around 300 percent immediately once the scheme came into being. What level of fees did the drafters of the legislation use in their feasibility study? Was it a coincidence that three doctors were in the ruling party at the time? Why are House of Assembly members reluctant to admit this?

The scheme should have been based on the United Kingdom system. In the UK, everybody is obliged by law to contribute, and government provides services at government facilities for free or with co-pay. Where the government doesn’t have the required expertise and equipment, it should either procure it or negotiate terms with the private companies to use and pay for their services. Alternatively, members of the public can carry on with their private insurance policies and use the private providers, while still being obliged to contribute to the government system.

 

Delinquent employers

As for delinquent VI employers not paying in the money they deduct from employees’ salaries, the government seems to have its head in the sand. One legislator says to employers, “If you are not going to pay it in, stop collecting it!” This is entirely the opposite of what is required. It is a compulsory tax on everybody (save those exempt) and employers should be forced to pay up or be prosecuted, whoever they are. Name and shame them. It has to be the heavy hand of government to police this, because most employees are probably reluctant to make a fuss for fear of losing their job.

Furthermore, the NHI should not refuse to pay for employees’ treatment just because the employer has not been carrying out his/her obligation to pay the money to NHI. As it is, any government subsidence is going straight into the pockets of our private health suppliers.

A review is required regarding funding, with the medical profession being forced to agree

sensible fees, and possibly with an increase of employees’ contributions, unpopular as that may be. Who knows? We may even end up with doctors working for the government, with a private practice some of the time.

 

Reopening

On a separate matter, outsiders are getting restless on social media demanding to have some indication of the government’s intentions for opening up the territory to visitors. Some press releases would be appreciated.


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