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NHIS is Crumbling under the Burden of NPP Corruption- Dr Sandaare

Dr Sebastian Ngmenenso Sandaare, a member of Health Committee of Ghana’s parliament, has bemoaned the poor administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by the government of the New Patriotic Party.

Contributing to the debate on the proposed formula for the distribution of the National Health Insurance Fund for 2019,, the Daffiama/Bussie/Issa, Member of Parliament (MP) said the Scheme is collapsing under this administration and hence called on the government to do more to save the Scheme.

The NPP, he said was bequeathed the National Health Insurance Scheme in very healthy conditions but what are we seeing today, the declining active members of the Scheme has worsen than ever.
Passed into law in 2003, the Scheme has been the backbone of health delivery for most citizens in the country for years now.

However, in recent times it has been bedeviled with many difficulties that have led to fears that the Scheme faces a possible collapse.

As at 2016, the time the NationalDemocratic Congress (NDC) government was leaving power, the Scheme active subscribers stood at 10.786 million representing 39 per cent nationwide coverage.

In 2017, the active subscriber dropped to 10.422 million representing 37 per cent nationwide coverage and in 2018, the active subscribers dropped drastically to 10.410 million representing 35 percent.

The National Health Insurance Authority is expecting a total amount of Ghc 2, 534.89 billion in 2019 from the National Health Insurance Levy/SSNIT and other sources to be able to carry out its mandate in the year.

But Dr Sandaare, said this is happening due to the failure of the NPP administration to put in place adequate measures to expand the Scheme.

The latest of such difficulties is the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) in the Central Region, threaten to suspend its services to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cardholders following the non-payment of health insurance claims running into millions of Ghana cedis to the hospital.

The Daily Graphic reported that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) owed the CCTH GH¢6.175 million for services the facility rendered to patients under the NHIS.
The amount represents eight months May to December 2018, claims submitted to the NHIA.

The dire situation, Dr Sandaare expressed fear the Scheme would soon collapse to the detriment of the poor who could not afford to pay cash at the Hospitals.

The lawmaker questioned why the government is spending huge funds for ICT and others, without commitment to funding the NHIS to provide health insurance to Ghanaians.

The parliamentary report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for the disbursement of National Health Insurance Funds for 2019 has revealed that part of the fund was used in paying the allowances of trainee nurses.

According to the Report,  an amount of GHS358.85 million was released to the Ministry of Health to help fund the National Health Insurance Scheme but a total of GHS163.66 million of that money was used to pay nurse trainee allowances.

Again, Dr Sandaare questioned the government priority on primary healthcare in the country  and expressed the hope that the NHIA would not use NHIF for such purposes in the near future.

The National Health Insurance Scheme is a form of national health insurance established by the government of Ghana, with a goal to provide equitable access and financial coverage for basic health care services to Ghanaian citizens.

The NHIS is largely funded by the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) at 2.5 per cent levy on goods and services collected under the Value Added Tax (VAT), while another 2.5 percentage of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions per month

The situation together with other issues, have led the former DBI MP to complained on the floor of parliament and call for action to save the NHIS.

Over the past fortnight, he said the people of Ghana have received the shock of warnings from the healthcare service front and not from politicians that the NHIS is collapsing and also they, as NHIS cardholders, were not to be entertained.

The healthcare system has been thrown under huge indebtedness to services providers pushing them into distressed.

Source: ther|epublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Nyaaba

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