The Minority Caucus in Parliament has appealed to the government to take urgent steps to prevent the imminent collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), insisting that funds should be released immediately to salvage the fund.
They said many Ghanaians were dying because that facility, lauded as one of the best Government social interventions in the West Africa sub-region, was at its low ebb, because of the ineptitude of the funds’ managers and the intransigence of the government to release cash to pay service providers.
The Minority, at a media conference on Wednesday in Accra, recalled a June 2014 letter by the immediate former Health Minister, Sherry Aryitey, indicating to the Finance Minister that the huge debt owed service providers was making it impossible for them to provide the needed service to the people, with many of them threatening to pull out of the scheme and resort to the cash and carry system.
‘This…inefficient management has resulted in the NHIS inability to pay health providers in this country. This bizarre handling of the health insurance scheme has culminated in the suspension of services to NHIS clients,’ Mr William Sabi, MP for Dormaa East, who read the press statement, said.
The New Patriotic Party government in 2003 introduced the NHIS.
The NHIS Law, Act 852, Section 52, stipulates that the Minister of Finance transfers funds accrued from the NHIS levy and SSNIT contributions to the National Health Insurance Authority to administer the fund and payment to service providers.
However as at the end of the of May 2014, the NHIA owed service providers 213.2 million Ghana cedis due to the refusal of the Finance Ministry to remit those fund to the Authority.
The Minority is of the view that apart from the delay in the payment of claims, inflation and recent currency depreciation had worsened the already low tariffs, as service providers are not able to cover the cost of providing health care to clients.
‘The bad management of the economy has resulted in massive depreciation of the cedi, high interest rates, decreased minimum wage, the combined effect of which has been the sharp increases in the market price of goods and services.
‘This, together with the increases in VAT rate to 17.5 per cent, has affected the cost of medicine including those which previously were not ‘vatable.’
The situation has made it very difficult for health institutions to remain in operation, since the processes are not un-remunerative but as well, they are not financially compensatory.
The NPP said it was at a loss why the executive had kept mute over the abysmal performance of the NHIA and asked the Mahama-led Administration to raise funds, with the same urgency it found the three million dollars it dispatched to Brazil for the World Cup, to save the scheme.
The Minority slammed the government for not adding ‘even a single social intervention programme to what they met in office’ saying, ‘if you cannot better the situation, you also do not destroy.’
Credit: Daily Graphic.com.gh
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