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Breaking News:

NHI open to abuse

Published: Jul 26, 2017

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Dear Editor,


On June 1, 2017 you printed a letter from me questioning why government should continue with NHI. In that letter it stated: "The former government pushed to start NHI prematurely as a political ploy. In my opinion, it is not well thought-out and cannot achieve the objectives of transforming healthcare in this country as they stated it would. As I understand it, in its first phase, the applicants for the program are able to get the same services (a free visit at the government’s expense) at a private clinic that they were able to get in the public system. In other words, the government is now paying the private sector for a service it was already paying for in the public sector. Knowing that the government is strapped for cash and knowing that NHI is less than a month old, one wonders why the present government did not suspend the continuation of the program for reevaluation. The population is not yet dependent on it."

We now read that Dr. Duane Sands admits that the NHI scheme is wide open to abuse and states that there is little he can do to remedy the abuse. He seems to be suggesting that NHI was not well thought-out and is full of problems.

It was suggested before and is being suggested again that if the government is truly trying to stop wasting money and has a genuine interest in healthcare for the masses, it would suspend NHI. Stop the duplicitous spending on healthcare and create a system that works with the appropriate checks and balances to minimize abuse.

Healthcare is a very complicated and polarizing issue. There are those who believe it is an entitlement government should subsidize. It seems far more reasonable that, in the first instance, individuals should be responsible for their own health. Governments should create economic opportunities for the population through sound policies which can allow citizens to be more economically independent.

Those individuals can then decide how best to address their healthcare needs. We cannot expect people to suffer from avoidable lifestyle related diseases and ask the taxpayers to bear the expensive costs of their healthcare. There has to be some element of individual responsibility for health and healthcare as well. If governments have failed at one thing it is in creating an inclusive economy that encourages financial independence among the citizenry. After all entitlements and dependence are the keys to a lengthy career in politics.

Every dollar spent by NHI thus far has been wasted. The government is spending money twice for the same thing. What remains to be seen is whether or not there is an honest effort to reform healthcare. It is my hope that NHI will not be found to be just another slush fund under the guise of trying to do what is best for Bahamians.


– JB

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