NHIS collapsing; Ghana returning to cash-and-carry – UAHCC

The Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign (UAHCC) has challenged government to re-structure the financing mechanism of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make it more sustainable.According to UAHCC, the current unsustainable financing mechanism is the reason for the challenges confronting the Scheme.

The Society of Private Medical and Dental practitioners has ordered its members to withdraw services to NHIS subscribers effective today, Monday, May 4, due to unpaid services. The Society of Private medical and Dental practitioners are demanding payment for earlier services offered to NHIS subscribers.

“By majority decision, we issued a press statement about the non-payment of service provision monies due us on the 17th of March, 2015. We intimated that if all outstanding payments were not made by 30th April, 2015, we will not be able to continue seeing holders of NHIA cards. We will offer services to clients who will be prepared to pay cash for services,” a statement from the Society said.

Last week, the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe gave the assurance that government was working out a strategy for a bailout of the NHIS, which is currently facing challenges in paying claims from health facilities. He said the NHIS currently owes several health facilities to the tune of GH¢460 million.

Speaking to the media, the Deputy National Coordinator of the Campaign, Archibald Adams, said with the current challenges confronting the Scheme, the country is gradually returning to the Cash and Carry system.

“The Ministry of Finance must as a matter of urgency, mobilize and release the 2.5% levy paid by all Ghanaians on goods and services to the NHIA Levy which is a huge resource envelope. In addition to the levy, members of the scheme also pay a premium towards financing the scheme. Ghanaians cannot be levied for NHIS while the scheme totters towards a collapse. Systems for resourcing NHIS are therefore in place. However, there is a huge gap between resources mobilised and financing NHIS. Part of the levy should also be used by the government to ensure that health facilities provide improved and quality health services to Ghanaians”.

He said the campaign acknowledges the resource constraints Ghana faces but urges “government to identify innovative ways of generating funds to support an essential sector like healthcare. The campaign said “access to health care is a basic human right and it must be protected, no matter what.”

Whilst government works on a bailout strategy, the campaign stressed that, it is prudent for government to be:

“Transparent and tell Ghanaians how much she has mobilised from Ghanaians towards financing NHIS. How much of the funds mobilised is ploughed back to the NHIS?
Use the NHIA levy for what it was intended. Government owes Ghanaians that. We are demanding better accountability and responsive healthcare delivery.”

The campaign further urged the government to urgently address the energy crisis as it is contributing to needless deaths and has rendered several Ghanaians jobless. The campaign believes that if the power crisis persists, it will adversely affect Ghanaians and reduce the amount of money contributed to the NHIS from the VAT levy. “Every Ghanaian is capable of contributing to the growth of the economy and it is the duty of the government to provide a thriving environment for businesses to increase revenue generation of national development,” Adams averred. – Starrfmonline.com

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