Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has written off government’s National Health Insurance scheme as a “broken” system.
Fraser made those claims while raising concerns that the NHI is turning away persons who are unemployed.
“Seniors were supposed to be free [under NHI]. When a person became unemployed, they were supposed to be free as well, but people who have become unemployed have found themselves without NHI. They are being told flat out that they don’t have any coverage because your payment has lapsed. Well, if I don’t work, where am I going to get money from to pay?”
“I think that that policy needs to be formalised and not left up to the people of NHI to decide,” Fraser said.
He made those assertions in the House of Assembly last week and said legislators need to accept that the NHI needs fixing.
While responding to the Fraser’s assertions, Health Minister Ronnie Skelton admitted that the NHI needs “tweaking”.
He also admitted that the matter of unemployed persons who are incapable of making NHI contributions needs to be addressed.
“Those situations need to be addressed by the government. You cannot ask a system to take care of a problem that the whole government should be looking at,” Skelton said.
He, however, added: “NHI is not a solution to everything. It is a solution to the health care needs of people who are paying into the system.”
“Let us be realistic. Let us try to find some solutions to the needs of our citizens in this country who really need healthcare. We need to be able to do that, give people hope – give people solutions to problems; not believing that whatever they want they can get,” Skelton said.
Under NHI regulations, persons exempted from making NHI contributions include persons 65 years or older, indigent persons, dependent children, wards of the state, risk officers (such as police, Customs, Immigration, and firefighters) prisoners, and persons qualifying under the UK/BVI Reciprocal Health Agreement signed in 1989.
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