29 November 2012

Ghana: NHIs Is Running At a Loss

A member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) health committee, Dr. Anthony Asare, has hinted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is operating under financial bankruptcy.

He said the scheme cannot be said to be a successful one, as being claimed by the ruling government, saying "on the financial side, the picture looks even scarier."

He averred that the "NHIA leadership has declared the nation's social health insurance scheme financially bankrupt" and that the analysis of the claims projected funding deficit data confirms the NHIA's self declaration.

According to him, total claims payment in 2008 amounted to GH¢ 183.01 million as opposed to GH¢549.77 million in 2011, stressing "the NHIS is currently running a deficit."

Emphasizing that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has failed in the operation of the NHIS, he said "four years down the road, the NDC have not been able to implement the one-time premium policy. We can only assume that it was made to deceive Ghanaians just to get their votes."

Speaking at a news conference in Accra yesterday, to debunk the NHIS success story claim of the government, Dr. Asare stated that the NDC government further introduced a form of payment that brought a lot of confusion and instability to the scheme.

In contrast, he mentioned the achievements of the NPP in terms of the NHIS, saying they reduced maternal mortality rate from 540 deaths per 100, 000 live births in 2000 to 350/100,000 live births.

They also reduced infant, neonatal and under five mortality rates, and established a national ambulance system to cater for medical emergencies throughout the country, he said.

He noted that if the flag bearer of the NPP is given the nod in the December 7 poll to rule the good people of Ghana, the NPP would invest more in the medical schools to train more doctors and other allied health workers locally.

Additionally, the NPP would further make dental care more accessible to the poor, invest in frontline health service delivery, increase health spending in real terms every year, and refocus capital investment on primary and community services, among others.

Regarding mental health, the NPP would improve care in the service by offering incentives to attract young doctors into the field, he said.

Also, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NHIS, Mr. Ras Boateng reiterated that the NHIS programme is not a success contrary to claims by the NDC government.

He said the introduction of the NHIS in 2003, by former President J.A Kuffour was in fulfillment of the electioneering promise to make health care financially accessible to all, and eliminate the 'cash and carry' system under the previous NDC government.

According to him, Ghanaians marked it as one of the best, fastest social intervention programme "independent Ghana has ever had". He added that during President Kuffour's regime, Ghanaians were offered unrestricted, undeniable health care coupled with free maternal care.

He noted that the NHIS story went beyond the borders of Ghana when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank held it as a shining example of a developing country success story.

Accordingly, "In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) arm of United Nations (UN) gave Ghana an award in recognition of improving financial access to health care; 'South-South Recognition Excellent Award 2010' ", he mentioned.

Mr. Boateng lamented over the recent statement made by President John Dramani Mahama in Tamale that "the NHIS under the NDC is a phenomenal success."

He pointed out that "during the NPP regime, there were ten million active users of the NHIS; people who are card bearing members of the scheme and whose health care is being covered by the NHIS"

He went to say that the NDC was now saying the NPP's policy of free senior high education was not achievable as they said about the NHIS when proposed by the NPP, describing it as the "cannot attitude".

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