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Govt Being ‘Adversarial’ In Nhi Discussions

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Gowon Bowe

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Chairman Gowon Bowe asserted that the government’s “adversarial” position to stick to a January 2016 launch of National Health Insurance is a “gun to the head” of Bahamians.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Mr Bowe suggested that the Christie administration has fuelled fear and uncertainty because there has been no confirmation of key features of the healthcare scheme, including the associated costs, benefits and the structure it is expected to take on.

In the face of continued calls to delay the roll out of NHI, Mr Bowe said he was of the view that no one would fault the government if it decided to postpone its plans to ensure the scheme is as successful as possible. He said this would be the best move as there are too many unknowns.

This comes after Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said on Wednesday that the government was implementing NHI in a “chaotic manner” as he urged the government to delay its plans.

However, Acting Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said on Tuesday the government is resolute in ensuring that every Bahamian is afforded free healthcare with no plans to delay NHI.

“Timelines shouldn’t be a barrier to success and they certainly shouldn’t serve as a gun to the head,” Mr Bowe said when contacted for comment.

“But the government has taken a stance that they won’t be bullied by any special interest group. I view this as adversarial.

“The key concern for everyone is, have they reached all of the internal milestones? What does January 1 mean? Will it mean just building the register? If the government can clearly reveal what January 1 will mean then that might begin to allay some of the fear of Bahamians and private operators alike.

“While the prime minister has said he won’t do anything that will damage the economy by putting in place a scheme that does not work, there has still been no clear indication of the benefits, cost, or what the structure will be.”

He continued: “I think the government should make it clear they are not backing off but are giving confidence to the constituents so that it can be implemented with the least amount of challenges.

“But if you go in with all stakeholders saying they are in a state of flux, the question is then, have you hit the internal milestones? We need to be very careful.”

This week, the Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) released a statement saying the proposed NHI model constitutes “a hostile takeover” of the private health insurance sector by government.

The association predicted that NHI would destabilise the health insurance sector, which they expect to have a snowballing effect on the entire insurance industry.

The BIA further cautioned the government to exercise prudence in its management of the country’s affairs and to implement universal health coverage in the Bahamas in a responsible rather than reckless manner.

This followed assertions by a high-level stakeholder in the health insurance industry who told The Tribune this week that as many as 1,000 people will lose their jobs if the government proceeds with NHI without incorporating the BIA’s recommendations.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 9 months ago

What is it about Gowan Bowe's love affair with the limelight? Didn't the government hire his Price Water House accounting firm to prepare an independent report on the feasibility and issues associated with the implementation of a National Healthcare Insurance (NHI) scheme? How can government think his accounting firm's report is independent when he himself is such a mouth piece against the implementation of NHI? This guy with John Rolle and others ratted us all out to VAT (made us think our VAT dollars would go towards paying down our National Debt) and now he must feel he has to work overtime in opposing NHI to compensate for his past misdeed in taking the government's side on VAT and misleading all of us. But he doesn't realise that in doing so he is creating the impression his firm was probably not so independent when it prepared its NHI report!

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Economist 3 years, 9 months ago

It is a "gun to the head of Bahamians", he correct on that.

No one buys a car before they know how much it costs, yet Bahamians are being told to buy first and then we will tell you how much you have to pay.

Oh, and you will be paying this sum for the rest of your life.

This is a lifetime decision.

What is the government afraid of? Why won't they tell us the truth? If they did we could make an educated and informed decision.

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Honestman 3 years, 9 months ago

They won't tell us the truth because THEY KNOW the truth is that the country cannot afford NHI in the form being suggested. Therefore Christie and his henchmen in a desperate attempt to fool their gullible supporters, will try to force through the scheme before May 2017. They will paint the scheme as "affordable" to their flock in the full knowledge that it will cripple the economy in a few years' time. By that time, Christie calculates the PLP will be back in power for another five years and they will be able to "cross that bridge when they come to it". Unfortunately by the time the truth becomes apparent the country's credit rating could be consigned to junk status and we could be looking at having to give up our peg to the US Dollar. Now THAT prospect should frighten the heck out of every Bahamian. It really is that serious folks.

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GrassRoot 3 years, 9 months ago

about high time to give up the BSD. its just a tool to control people.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 9 months ago

Christie bounces out 100 million for hurricane repairs, 30 + million for NHI and that ain't even accurate. These are unplanned costs and I wonder where he thinks the money will come from. When he asks the IMF to help we will be no better that Jamaica or Haiti. Bahamians are truly an ignorant bunch of people.

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