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Nhi Risks ‘Up To 1,000 Jobs’

Princess Margaret Hospital Critical Care Block

Princess Margaret Hospital Critical Care Block

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A HIGH level stakeholder in the health insurance industry said the jobs of as many as 1,000 people will be in jeopardy if the Christie administration moves ahead with its National Health Insurance scheme without incorporating the Bahamas Insurance Association’s recommendations.

The source spoke to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss sensitive internal talks with the media at a time when stakeholders are discussing contingency plans in case the government moves forward with its own ideas.

While threatening large-scale job cuts could be seen by some as a scare tactic, leading cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune yesterday that he believes the cited number of possible job losses is legitimate as a worst case scenario result.

Meanwhile, The Tribune’s source said job cuts are likely because the industry anticipates many Bahamians will terminate their current health insurance coverage in anticipation of getting free healthcare under the government’s scheme.

“What happens if people begin to drop their coverage, saying ‘why should I keep my coverage when I can get it free?’” the industry insider said.

“There are people who have insurance who haven’t had an annual examination in five years. They are going to say, why not get rid of that, especially now we are hearing that talks are taking place to possibly include some special conditions like diabetes, certain cardiovascular problems under primary healthcare coverage, which is the second phase of the government’s plans.”

Speculation about the packages and benefits the government may offer under its scheme exists because the Christie administration has not specified what will be included when NHI comes on stream next year.

The Tribune’s source added: “If people drop their coverage, it impacts the business of health insurance. Whereas you need 20 people to adjudicate claims today, you may need half of that when people start dropping their insurance. Then there is support staff as well. And it’s difficult to isolate health insurance because in the Bahamas you have often life and health insurance together. If revenue is not there we will have to cut jobs.”

When contacted by The Tribune about the feared job losses, Dr Sands said it is revealing that the government would inflict damage to a legitimate industry like the insurance sector after “bending over backwards” to legitimise the web shop industry, which for years existed in defiance of the law.

Dr Sands said: “They’ve put these businesses in a very awkward position. They have to act responsibly and plan for the next 12 months but don’t have any idea of what’s going to happen. Do you hire? Do you downsize? It’s decidedly disadvantageous.”

With a month until NHI’s proposed start date, the health insurance industry hopes the government abandons its plans to establish a public insurer.

“Nationalization is not the answer,” The Tribune’s source said. “The role of government is to regulate and enforce the laws. The model the government is working on has to change. Right now you have people who have insurance and people who don’t have insurance. In the latter category you have people who could afford it but who don’t buy insurance, mainly because they are young and healthy. Then you have the indigent and unemployed. The focus should be on working with the industry to provide healthcare to these people.

“Through tax reductions, we could reduce the cost of healthcare, which would reduce the premium that current insurance payers pay,” the source said. “We must make it mandatory for everyone to have healthcare coverage but allow people to maintain their existing insurance rather than paying taxes toward a public insurance system. Together we can make something work without putting the industry at a disadvantage.”

Comments

TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade Dr. Duane might as well define himself as a self appointed dedicated lobbyist for the stakeholders in the health insurance industry. This should demand a full disclosure of what percentage of his medical practices income is directly/indirectly generated from patient visits and treatments paid for in part/whole by insurance companies?
In fairness to bring some transparency into the ongoing Universal Health Insurance debate, so should every other advocate be asked to declare their connections with the insurance insurance, before advocating for the status quo profiteering to remain in place.

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Tarzan 3 years, 4 months ago

Like government run power companies? Like government run telecommunications companies? Like government managed mega resort bankruptcies? You'll like government run health care.

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TruePeople 3 years, 4 months ago

Bahamas gov't trying to implement NHI is like a baby tryna drive a tanker truck

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

We know what we get with private health insurance policies/coverage ............... when will we know what a NHI policy/coverage package be made available to the public to be able to compare ......... and get rid of the speculations???????????

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade if God forbid you should require emergency medical treatment - you will tell the ambulance to drive you to doctors hospital - and take your private insurance policy number with you. In case yoou don't know it - the majority of citizens are today already receiving medical treatment and services, not covered by private insurance companies.

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 4 months ago

People will get all the details AFTER the launch...same way they did with VAT. Government don't want you to know the details BEFORE the launch, that way you cannot object to it fully or take to the streets in a riot. They are going to wait til AFTER to disclose all the dirty details and tell you what is covered and what is not...after they have decimated the private insurance industry. Then somehow spin it back on you for not objecting about it sooner, or raising your concerns.

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BoopaDoop 3 years, 4 months ago

and if the majority of Bahamians feel NHI will not work the government will implement it anyway like they did with the gambling referendum.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Tal ...... if the government wants to implement an EMT plan (like Hubert's Drugs Plan) then do it!!!!!!! .................. but they want to put in an Obamacare type system ......... that will ruin us

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade PM knows exactly where I stand. It must be "Universal" Health Care and stop with his government selling it as a new tax to be deducted from paychecks. It is NOT even close to being a tax. Yes, VAT is a clear tax, Universal Health Care is NOT.
I strongly encourage the PM, not to pay attention to the advocates out to protect the status quo of the insurance industry.

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh it's gonna be a tax TAL...bigger and badder than VAT...mark my words.

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TruePeople 3 years, 4 months ago

A focus on an EMT plan would be a good fore runner to NHI... think about how atlantis was built,,, and how they tried to build BahaMar.....

Doing it in stages is way better

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrades if you want see bad government roll-out of a health care plan, just see what the red regime did with their prescription plan. Are you being covered?

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observer2 3 years, 4 months ago

The minute NHI legislation is passed in the House of Assembly and heath care salary deductions are started via NIB deductions, then all employers will immediately discontinue group health insurance plans as they become redundant on day one.

A derivative of this scenario occurred in the United States once Obama (Universal) Care was implemented.

In order to avoid paying Obama care and avoid health insurance all together most businesses (large and small) started to hire persons less than 40 hours per week. Employees working under 40 hours are then designated as non full time and the employer does not have to pay any benefits (including Obama Care).

The liability for healthcare then falls to the individual who is forced to purchase an individual Obama care plan through the state health care exchanges.

The result is that health care insurers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars per year. United Health Care, one of the largest health insurers in the United States, is exciting the Obama Care business because it is not profitable. See link below.

http://www.hngn.com/articles/152202/2...">http://www.hngn.com/articles/152202/2...

Under socialist model and the nanny state, which we are following, the insurance industry will be put out of business as the government will be administering health care.

Lol...dey mussy learn dis nonsense from dey Chinese masters.

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade you know the picture you paint has some serious defaults.
I could not help but notice how you left out the part about 5 million uninsured now having access to medial care and treatment. What about the 100 million people who now have a feature that they can no longer be bumped from their health care plan at work?

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Abaconian 3 years, 4 months ago

That is all well and good Tal, and I agree with Obamacare. But guess what.....This is The Bahamas, NOT the USA. Of course, in theory, it would be fantastic if everyone in The Bahamas had "free" health insurance. Except for the fact that it's not free. It has to payed by you and me in one shape or form. Not only that, the government (especially this government) breaks everything it touches. It cannot be trusted with properly appropriating it's finances. And as with everything, the costs in the end will far exceed the costs expected at the outset.

The Health Industry in the Bahamas is already a damn mess. We are wasting tons of money that if properly and effectively spent could actually improve the quality of the care we receive. The government should be working on fixing that first. Let me ask you this... What's the use of being fully covered if you go into the hospital but don't receive quality care??

Also, from your comments you seem to care way more about the profits that the insurance companies are making than you do about the effect this NHI plan will have on the economy and the health industry as a whole (not just the insurance side of it). This warped logic is typical of the PLP.

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

But Comrade Abaconian we already have a taxpayers although broken health care system with no monthly premiums injection going into the public treasury. How much more free could we possibly make our present broken system?
Over the past 36 months out of the 10,800 babies born at PMH alone - how many newborns at PMH alone do you think you Comrade Abaconian paid for as a taxpayer?
Under Universal Health Care, Government should set a maximum payment per family doctor's visit of $38 - with NO provision for any doctor to opt out of the Universal Health Care.

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Islandgirl 3 years, 4 months ago

$38.00 and how did you come up with that figure? Indentured servitude? What quality of care or time spent with your doctor are you going to get with that? "with NO provision for any doctor to opt out of the Universal Health Care." When you step up in a doctor's face with that suggestion, please let us know how it goes. If it will be that way for that profession, it should that way for all professions, including the lawyers, accountants, mechanics, beauticians and the like. That is a dictatorship.

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade Islandgirl the $38 is not necessarily carved in stone. Government may decide go much higher per family doctor's visit to $43.
I have called for a true leave no-one-out Universal Health Care system. I also would disagree with the rumor government get's pick your doctor and you cannot switch doctors unless government pre approve.
But we cannot allow doctors to opt out of the system.

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Chucky 3 years, 4 months ago

If the insurance companies are squawking it's only cause they fear they soon loose this cash cow. Any jobs they cut will be picked up by the new administrators of the plan. Lets face it people, if this was done without corruption, it should take the profit out of the health care insurance industry, which is a good thing. Sadly we're too corrupt here, but still private companies should not profit off your and my health care needs.

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade Chucky, the insurance companies will not go out of business once Universal Heath Care is underway.
Truth is their corporate profits from providing Supplementary Heath Insurance as an add-on to the Universal Health Plans basic benefits will almost double within 10 years. They are not telling the whole truth and their advocates know better too but why let the truth get in the way of peddling fear.
The insurance business will continue even more profitable then ever before.They will continue to set the dollar maximum limits they will cover. They will pay for some procedures and services, while not others. Yes, the deductibles will still be under their control. But unlike Universal Health Care, the insurance companies CAN reject offering you benefits coverage.

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