Nhi Will Need New Taxation

Dr Duane Sands, Minister of Health. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

Dr Duane Sands, Minister of Health. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff


Tribune Staff Reporter


HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands confirmed Tuesday that an additional tax will be introduced to fund National Health Insurance (NHI).

In an interview with reporters outside of Cabinet, Dr Sands said he has put pressure on the NHI board to come to the public sooner rather than later concerning the funding and execution of the health care initiative.

He also said NHI’s budget has been slashed from $40 million to $36 million, after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis made the decision for all budgets across the board to be slashed by 10 per cent this fiscal year.

When asked if a tax is the only way to fund NHI, Dr Sands said “yes”.

“You may recall in the 2017-2018 budget, we allocated $40 million for NHI. What we suggested was $15 million for primary care, $15 (million) for catastrophic care and $10 million for the nuts and bolts of running the NHI Authority. Now we have made the decision that all of the budgets will be decreased by 10 per cent so instead of $40 million, we are looking at $36 million this fiscal year,” Dr Sands sad.

“Moving forward we need to be able to tackle the problem of how NHI will be paid for. No one questions the benefits but how will we pay for it and also people what to know what can I get for my mommy or daddy who is struggling and so we want to be very specific.

“Paying for it means a tax because we are running a fiscal deficit and have been doing so every year since 1972. So any new benefit we will figure out where the new money is going to come from and it is going to mean that the Bahamian people are going to have to dig deep and find the funds. But also what we have promised is we will eliminate a lot of the waste in health care so they get value for money. We are nine days in and I am putting the pressure on my very competent NHI board to come to the public and say this is what we have to deal with. They have had some challenges ....the Bahamian public want it now and so we are going to continue to work so we won’t have to wait. We have to see how quickly we can get this information because the Bahamian people deserve it.”

Dr Sands said there are currently more then 30,000 people enrolled in NHI.

Last week Dr Sands said a long-anticipated legal opinion from the Office of the Attorney General complicated the Minnis administration’s effort to create a NHI programme that fits its preferences and will likely limit the administration’s ability to quickly accomplish its NHI goals.

As one of its first official acts, the board of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) sought a legal opinion about whether the actions of the NHI Secretariat – established by the previous Christie administration – were legal and potentially binding.

This was because even before the NHI board was established and key provisions of the NHIA were gazetted, the secretariat entered into numerous contracts with residents and health care providers.

Nonetheless, the AG’s Office has said in its opinion delivered to Dr Sands the secretariat’s actions were essentially legal.

The NHIA board cannot make significant changes to the programme therefore without considering the legal and financial implications connected to the preexisting arrangements the NHI Secretariat entered into.


killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

Already paying national insurance. Should be the same.


birdiestrachan 2 years, 2 months ago

This man nor his FNM party never had any intentions of implementing NHI. If it was up to them there would be no National Insurance period.


DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

"This man" advised the public almost as soon as he assumed his ministerial post that National Health Insurance did not have the necessary funding in place for its continued administration. He did NOT say that NHI would be discontinued. Surely you don't think birdie doo funds health care?


Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

If Duane Sands wants NHI funded, let him agitate for less waste and fraud in our existing bloated government finances, including a real downsizing of totally unnecessary public sector employees in just about every government department, agency and corporation. Our people are already over-taxed and our government remains hocked in debt.


DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

This, Mudda, should be shouted from the roof-tops until ALL in Parliament and Civil Servant positions get it!


realitycheck242 2 years, 2 months ago

Cut the NHI suit to fit the money cloth you have. Bahamians cant take no more taxes !


hrysippus 2 years, 2 months ago

It is not possible to create something out of nothing. The cost of an individual's health care must be funded by additional taxes that he or she pays. These taxes must also be enough to cover the health care of the many people, like BirdieStrachan, who have never worked and contributed taxes. The Bahamas has an extremely high rate of obesity which cause several medical problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and other cardio diseases. These all require expensive long-term medical care. I can think of no government controlled agencies that are well run, from the Bank of the Bahamas to Bahamas Customs, they are mismanaged, wasteful and over-staffed. NHI will be no different. NHI is coming but it will not be a wonderful answer to people's health care challenges.


proudloudandfnm 2 years, 2 months ago

Not another dime in new taxes. Cut the waste. Cut the spending. Downsize our incredibly bloated government. Increase government productivity.

Not anothet dime in taxes. If anything eliminate duty. Increase VAT but only after duty is eliminated.

Bahamians need to stand up and fight this crap. If we don't do something now the taxes will just keep on coming. And our tax dollars will continue to be wasted.

Electricity going off every day. Traffic lights out all over the place. Brand new roads already being torn up. Every single government building falling apart. Bahamasair costing us a fortune every year. Bailing out BOB over and over again. Millions wasted on carnivale. Millions lost and wasted at WSC. Millions lost at BEC. Millions lost at BAMSI. BDB. Ministry of finance. The amount of liability that exist due to pure incompetency and corruption is staggering. Our government's incompetemce is galactic, it is their norm, it is ALL we get from government. 13 MONTHS TO GET A PASSPORT. How many islands in or near bankruptcy?

And they want more of our money?!? Only a complete asshole would give them more money...


Damifiknow 2 years, 2 months ago

NHI sure is working well in the queens land as they have canceled 50,000 operations fo the little people because they can’t contain the flu! Them poison pills can’t be that expensive @Princess Margaret Only the visitors leave out the front door,the sick go out the back


BMW 2 years, 2 months ago

Gotta agree with you 100% there proudloud.


joeblow 2 years, 2 months ago

We don't need NHI. We already have the infrastructure to provide healthcare for all. We need more efficient management of the current system and more intense public education. Bahamians must assume greater responsibility for their own personal health.

This is a scheme to enrich a privileged few!


sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Just add an extra 1-2% to National Insurance to pay for catastrophic health coverage for emergency surgery, heart & kidney disease etc. ........... And include existing Drug Plan.

But Bahamians have to eat and live healthy lives ........... and stop the violence as well.


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