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Bishop Rejects Claim That Nhi Is Too Expensive

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

BISHOP Simeon Hall moved to discredit the notion that the government’s National Health Insurance scheme is “too expensive” to be introduced, contending that such a “narrow-minded position” would only translate to the deaths of the “poor and downtrodden”.

In a statement released on Saturday, the pastor emeritus of New Covenant Baptist Church said the issues pertaining to the price of the scheme pales in comparison to the overall “wealth in this country”.

According to Bishop Hall, the average Bahamian spends $12,000 to $15,000 to bury deceased family members, but is incapable of paying for health insurance to keep loved ones alive.

He recalled the death of his younger brother who died as a result of a heart condition, claiming his sibling couldn’t afford to undergo a $250,000 procedure recommended by doctors.

“My brother had no health insurance. My brother is now dead,” Bishop Hall said.

He added: “An unfortunate truth is that even if my brother had the average health insurance that most Bahamians can reasonably afford, his fate would have more than likely been no different. Hundreds of Bahamians have a similar experience.”

However, the religious leader said he does not have “blinders on” regarding some of the more “salient points” surrounding NHI.

He said due to the “government’s problematic roll out” of the scheme, he too has concern over some aspects of its implementation.

Still, he said: “The long and short of it is National Health Insurance is needed in our country and the process has to begin at some point. Why not now?

“The poor and downtrodden in the Bahamas – who are again disproportionately disenfranchised by the existing medical and health insurance offerings - are a blatant contradiction to the wealth in this country.

“Let us, those who can absorb the cost of National Health Insurance, do our part to help the least, the lost and the left out.”

The government previously allocated $60m for NHI in this fiscal year, but has not disclosed complete details over the scheme’s design, pricing and benefits.

The first phase of NHI – which the government has said will entail registration and improvements to public health infrastructure – is due to be introduced January 1, 2016.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has foreshadowed that a new tax may be implemented in the 2016/2017 fiscal year to fund NHI, but has stressed that the government would not do anything to disrupt the economy.

Comments

Honestman 3 years, 6 months ago

“Let us, those who can absorb the cost of National Health Insurance, do our part to help the least, the lost and the left out.”

No one is arguing with the above point Bishop Hall but we can achieve the goal without destroying the health coverage of those who "have". The problem with the PLP is that it wants to force NHI down our throats without being open and honest about the cost of the Plan. This is such a major undertaking for the country that it requires respectful debate with all stakeholders and across party lines. If government was prepared to do this then all sectors involved could come together with government and I am sure that a viable scheme could be agreed. This administration does not wish to do this because it knows that genuine discussion and consultation would take time and time is something the PLP does not have. So they are going to try and force through a Plan that is unsustainable, destroy the private health sector, all in a desperate and futile attempt to cling to power. THIS should be the thrust of the message you should be delivering.

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 6 months ago

Let the good Bishop and the church jump off of some of their funds. Time to remove the tax and duty exemptions on churches...then let's see how they start crying about taxation.

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Economist 3 years, 6 months ago

Since none of us know how much it is going to cost how can he say this? I guess that the next thing he will be claiming is to have spoken to God who has told him how much it will cost.

Why has his church not provided full coverage to its members in need, since it is so important. The church is there to help the poor. I hope he is driving an old beat up car, living in a small house and always traveling economy. Storing his riches in heaven.

He knows nothing about business, the economy or anything else.

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asiseeit 3 years, 6 months ago

The Bishop needs to stick to fleecing his flock and stay out of the PLP fleecing the Nation.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 6 months ago

Perry Christie has foreshadowed.... but .... The only thing that the Perry Christie's administration has accomplished in its first three and a half years in office is to totally disrupt and nearly bankrupt the Bahamas economy. Perry is a lawyer who knows zero about finance or a nations economy, yet he gives this crucial job to himself. What a joke he is.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 6 months ago

The Bishop says it's not too expensive, but nobody has any idea how expensive it is, not to mention the growth projections.

It would be a good thing if everybody in the Bahamas took out private insurance today. No one would dispute that. It would be "good". Everybody could go to the doctor and everybody could pay for their medications The reality is, "everybody" can't afford it, "it's too expensive". That's what too expensive means, we either don't have the money to take it out or the money to sustain it. Too expensive does not mean "not a good idea".

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themessenger 3 years, 6 months ago

“The poor and downtrodden in the Bahamas – who are again disproportionately disenfranchised by the existing medical and health insurance offerings - are a blatant contradiction to the wealth in this country.'' How disenfranchised do these poor and downtrodden look as they flock through the doors of the web shops Bishop? Can't afford a doctors visit but could afford to spin and buy numbers all week, maybe have 'lil sumptin leave over fa ya collection plate on da weekend an I know ya wouldn't turn it down even if it was dey last dollar. Government need money for da poor, check da church and da web shops bey.

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sealice 3 years, 6 months ago

the only reason we need this shit is because the gov't makes the middle and poor poorer and the select few wealthier - if you fix this which basically boils down to fix the corruption in our gov't (any gov't since 73) then you won't have to bleed the tax kitty dry to pay for people that weren't afforded a decent education and have to depend on others just to live

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