The Majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in parliament yesterday positioned itself strategically to shoot down a motion filed privately by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso in the Ashanti Region, Dr Richard Anane, to prevail on the Minister of Health to terminate the on-going Health Insurance ‘Capitation’ programme being implemented by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) because of its negative effect on the health of the people in the region.
After the Nhyiaeso MP had moved his motion and gotten it seconded by the NPP MP for Berekum East, Dr. Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, the Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, rose on his feet on Standing Order 78(k) – which allows a member to make urgent amendment to any motion – and wanted an amendment to the effect that the ‘Capitation’ which was being asked to be terminated, should rather be replicated across the country after it had been piloted in the Ashanti Region.
The majority leader was given the opportunity on that Standing Order by the Speaker to make his intended amendment, but the minority strongly opposed the move, compelling the Speaker to ask the leadership of both sides to do further consultations in order to arrive at a consensus that would be for the general good of the people of the country as far as provision of quality health services is concerned.
Dr Anane, in moving his motion, had argued strongly that the ‘Capitation,’ which is being piloted in the Ashanti Region, had not only affected the quality of health services in the region, but made the cost of accessing health services very expensive.
He said the ‘Capitation’ programme was also very discriminatory and should be terminated immediately because Article 17(4d) of the 1992 Constitution says that ‘…no Ghanaian should be discriminated against on the basis of his creed, colour, tribe, or religion,’ but the people of the region had been made to endure the pain of ‘Capitation’ while compatriots in other regions are enjoying the full benefits of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He said for instance, that a medical provider in the region is paid a meagre GH¢2.50 a month for each registered client while a medical provider is paid GH¢13.50 for every client per a visit and that if the client visits the medical facility three times in a month, that medical provider would receive an amount of GH¢40.50 ‘which is something appreciable.’
According to him, the costs of drugs in other regions are also paid for by the NHIA.
He noted that the situation in the Ashanti Region had encouraged out-of-pocket payments, making healthcare expensive, with the NHIA benefitting at the expense of the poor taxpayer.
“Mr. speaker, the results of the implementation of the Capitation Policy has amply demonstrated that it is discriminatory and has defeated the purpose of increasing financial access to healthcare by reducing catastrophic ‘out-of-payment’ expenditure,” Dr Anane said.
The Chairman of the Select Committee on Health and NDC MP for Wa West, Joseph Yilieh Chireh, who was a former Minister of Health and NDC MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, who was also a former Minister of Health. called for time on the motion, asking both sides to build non-partisan consensus so that Ghanaians could be provided with better health services.
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