We write further to a number of articles published last week in The Tribune related to our economic impact assessment of universal healthcare in the Bahamas.
This is the first time that any such report on the economic impacts of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Bahamas has been written. We stand firmly behind the report’s conclusions and we welcome constructive discussion with interested parties.
Our report is entirely consistent with, and complementary to, the work of renowned organisations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, the World Innovation Summit for Health and the seminal medical journal, The Lancet, all of which unanimously suggest the introduction of UHC and the resulting better health of populations has multiple beneficial impacts and a “powerful, positive effect on wealth” (per WISH’s 2016 report – Investing in Health, the Economic Case).
In our research, and based on the various studies by these organisations, we have seen the estimated economic impacts of better health on GDP ranging from 2 per cent to 12 per cent. Our report conservatively suggests that GDP growth in the Bahamas due to better population health will be 4.8 per cent by 2040, thus suggesting that better health will lead to better national wealth.
We note that some commentators feel we have ignored the current economic situation, but this fails to appreciate that any economic impact study is, of necessity, long-term. Sustainable health gain across populations takes many years (especially in the Bahamas which has, for example, very high levels of diabetes) and longitudinal analysis is therefore required. Indeed, better population health is a fundamental pillar of any economy’s development, and NHI in the Bahamas will, like it has in many other countries, act as a catalyst for change and improved health outcomes for the population as a whole.
Finally, our report was published independently of Government by KPMG and Cambridge Economics, a group of highly ethical and respected economists. KPMG itself operates with 187,000 people in 157 countries. We take pride in our professional independence and have been established in the Bahamas for over 50 years, with close to 100 dedicated staff. As such we were able to bring global and deep local expertise and knowledge, along with the input of professional and recognised international economists, to our report.
We also list below for your perusal a number of links to reports specifically dealing with the economic impacts of better health, all of which come to similar conclusions.
Partner and Head of Advisory for KPMG in the Bahamas and the KPMG Islands Group
Global Chairman for Health for KPMG
Please see below links to specific reports on this subject matter
2011 WHO report – ‘From Burden to ‘Best Buys’ – Reducing the Economic Impact of NCDs in low and middle income countries’, highlighting primary care as a ‘good buy’.
Additionally, it highlights that low to middle income countries lose $500 billion annually as a result of non-communicable diseases (4 per cent of their collective GDP) http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/best_buys_summary.pdf
2016 World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) – ‘Investing in Health – The Economic Case’ for the investment in health and its positive economic impacts
2012 Canadian Health Services Research Foundation – ‘The economic impact of improvements in Primary healthcare performance’ on the economic improvements from investing in primary care.
Finally, the Lancet commission has a number of studies highlighting the investments in health and their benefits. Below are two links to them.