The government seems to be sticking to its ill-conceived plan to introduce National health Insurance (NHI) in January 2016. It has taken them over three years to build a single CLINIC (Marsh Harbour health Facility), let alone roll out an effective and overhauled health care system in under 7 months.
The excuse we keep hearing why the clinic is not built? “The government has no money.”
No money? They have enough money to talk about building a new residence for the Prime Minister. They have enough money that the Prime Minister is able to brag about VAT collections during last month’s budget debates. They have enough money to talk about introducing “No new taxes” to implement NHI. This is either the biggest lie I have ever heard, or the most pie-in-the-sky prediction.
I do want to take a moment to commend the government, however. The Prime Minister indicated that for the fiscal year 2015/2016, the budget deficit has been slashed by two thirds. This is incredibly positive news.
So we should not be hearing that “no money” excuse any longer in regards to completing this important piece of our island’s medical infrastructure. And the “no money” excuse should not rear its ugly head when it comes to our clinics’ maintenance contracts. Our current clinic is a grimy, dirty, despicable blight. Let us not suffer seeing the new one fall into the same state of disrepair whenever it is finally finished.
More questions need to be asked about NHI and more information needs to be given to the people who will ultimately be conscripted into the system and pay for it. Look at the government’s track record (not just this current government). Do we really trust them to get this right? If your answer is yes, then ask yourself: do you trust them to get it right by this insane January rollout date?
This won’t just be a new clinic they are building. NHI will determine how you are allowed to spend your money providing health care for you and your family: which doctors, which medicines, which treatments and when. A wonderful system in a perfect world with infinite supplies. But that’s not our world. The government would focus on fixing the CURRENT system, not bundling it all together with a behemoth new system and hoping more money thrown around will fix everything. The government has not proved to the people it can be responsible with a big cheque book.
You are five times more likely to die on the public hospital ward in Nassau. You don’t fix this problem by adding more strain on the system.
Then again, do we know this is how NHI is planned to work? No. because we aren’t allowed to know details until the system is in place: which is just as egregious of a sin.