Dr Sandaare Calls for Bi-partisan Approach to NHIS Issues

Dr Sebastian Ngmenenso Sandaare, MP

Dr Sebastian Ngmenenso Sandaare, Memberof Parliament (MP) for Daffiama/Bussie/Issa Constituency in the Upper West Region, has called for a bi-partisan discussion on the financing of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to save it from imminent collapse.

According to the MP, there was the need for government to increase the Financial allocation for services delivery and claims of the National Health Insurance Scheme to make it more functional.

Dr Sandare made the called after Parliament has adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2018, on Wednesday March 21,this year.

According to the report submitted to the House for consideration in relation to revenue projections for 2018, The Authority is expected to receive a total amount of GH¢2,375.24 million in 2018 from NHIL/SSNIT aid other sources to be able to execute its mandate in 2018.
The breakdown of the projections are as follows: Levies NHIL 1,814.86 /76.41, SSNIT 419.06 /17.64, Premium ( Informal) 59.42 /2.50, Income on Investment 15.73 /0.66, Processing Fees 64.17 /2.70, ID Card Auth. Software 1.20 /0.05 and Other Income 0.30 /0.04
But Dr Sandaare told some members of the parliament press that, the allocation of GHS1,400million for claims of health services delivery for the NHIS was woefully inadequate and ought to be adjust upwards.

“When you look at the amount of funds allocated to services claims of the NHIS, I will say is not enough, because, it look like is 60-40 % shares, which in my view is not fair if you analysis the expenditure of both.”

“This is a purely pro-poor scheme and the services claims should be giving more of about 80% of the budget, while others like administrative, claims procession centres and other projects take the 20% . This, in my view will make the NHIS offer better services to achieve its objectives,” Dr Sandaare said.

He added that, projects like NHIS administrative offices and other zonal offices should be the concern of the district assemblies and the not NHIS as more funds are needed for services rather than capital projects.

Revenue and expenditure for 2017, on accrual basis, the total budget expenditure for the year ending 31st December, 2017 was GH¢1,719.85 million as against an annual budget of GH¢2,261.74 million, which resulted in a difference of GH¢541.89 million.
The Authority’s Budget allocation for NHlL/SSNIT for 2017 was GH¢1,734.46 million as contained in the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the 2017 Financial Year.
However, NHIL/SSNIT collections for the year (including estimated NHlL collections for December 2017 and SSNIT collections from October to December 2017) was GH¢1,564.01 million.
Of the total collections, an amount of GH¢1,205.38 million constituting 77.07% had been received by the Authority as at 31st December, 2017.

According to the Chairman of the Committee on the Whole, Joseph Osei-Owusu, “active membership coverage of the Scheme in 2017 stood at 37% with the Countries population of 28,958,587 in the Year. The NHlA has estimated to cover 42%.of the projected population of 29,028,484 in 2018. Active membership of the Scheme is therefore expected to be 12,242,288 in 2018.”

Parliament of Ghana

On the contrary Dr Sandaare said, the government estimation on the country population was not accurate per his on research on the population and the NHIS coverages.
He said, NHIS recorded a coverage of 37% under the New Patriotic Party NPP, as against 39% in 2016, under the NDC, which in his simply understanding indicated negative coverage of NHIS and as a sign of failed and unsound policies of which the government of the day must take the blame.

Dr Sandaare, a member of Health Committee of parliament said, the population figures of 29,028,484 by government for which reason it is projecting an increase coverage of 42% of NHIS was not factual.

He said, his research finding from the statistical services revealed that, the country current population stood at 29,614337, nothing that, which such figures, the projected 42% coverage of NHIS may not be realistic and need to be pointed out.

The Minority MP blasted the government for playing politics with healthcare of the country by massaging population figures to make the country NHIS look good instead of working to improve upon the poor record.

He asked that, government to adopt bi-partisan approach to healthcare issues, especially the NHIS to be to meet its objectives for the befit if the good people of Ghana.
Dr Sandaare said, “inadequate funding remains a major problem of NHlS and a serious threat to the sustenance of the Scheme.”

He therefore, called on the Government to seek additional sources of funding to address the financial and logistical challenges confronting the Scheme.

The MP also urged the Ministry of Finance to ensure timely releases of funds to the NHlA, to avoid delays in claims/debts settlements and to also enable the Authority deal with some of its logistical challenges.

Sources:www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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