(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
There is still deep worry about the viability of National Health Insurance (NHI) which was described as ‘being in the red’ when the 2019 budget address was delivered a few months ago.
On Tuesday, November 20, Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie delivered the 2020 budget estimates, disclosing that NHI needs urgent attention.
“Your Government also intends to carry out a comprehensive restructuring of the NHI as the current scheme is unsustainable and is in threat of failure,” Hon. Fahie announced.
The National Health Insurance was launched as a panacea to the medical access and cost barrier plight of the residents. It was a situation plaguing the Territory for years, and burdening the public purse. While NHI’s arrival has addressed the issues, the facility itself has suffered financially.
During the 2019 budget debate on April 25, the Premier explained the dilemma facing NHI as one that came to light during Standing Finance Committee.
“NHI who supposed to look after us when we were sick nearly make us sick when they told us that they are two million and change in the red. As a matter of fact, it had an argument in the room between them and Finance on who had get what and who didn’t get what. When it was finished … it was finished NHI had win the war,” the Premier stated.
Hon. Fahie explained that the situation with the Health Insurance started from day one as it was revealed that the entity was not provided the funds it was promised.
“NHI stated that they were to be given $11.5M when it started, but they were never given the money so they started in a deficit,” Hon. Fahie stated.
He added, “That was something that we were saying when we were in the opposition, but we were told no. Later on now they are saying only in February 2019 they receive $2.5M and NHI going now a few years.”
At that time the Premier also mentioned that his government was tasked with finding money to inject in into NHI.
“Now who have to go look money for NHI it ain't the same government that just reach in. Where we gon get it from ain't that same money that they say they leave in abundance well if you leave it in abundance take care of your responsibilities…These are people waiting on their monies,” Hon. Fahie said.