Monday 24 February, 2020

ECCB governor: National Health Insurance will be very costly to GOSL

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central  Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine

The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy Antoine has weighed in on the discussion as it relates to the implementation of National Health Insurance.

Addressing members of the media Wednesday, the ECCB governor says while national health insurance is a good initiative, it will be a very costly undertaking for the government.

The implementation of a National Health Insurance Scheme is at the top of the list of projects to be implemented by the Allen Chastanet led administration.

Antoine said, “In terms of moving forward with national health insurance, it is very important to continue to promote very strong primary health care which is prevention, healthy and active lifestyles.”

Although the program has been implemented in a number of islands such as the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands, sustaining and maintaining the program pose a serious challenge.

“What we found when you look around the region, look at BVI, look at Turks and Caicos, look at Cayman and others that have national health insurance, the secondary health care and tertiary health care, that is where people are hospitalized, where people need advanced procedures are extremely expensive and very difficult for the state to manage,” Antoine told reporters.

Governments, he says, must work closely with the citizenry in ensuring the promotion of primary health care.

“That will reduce the impact on fiscal accounts. Secondly, we believe it is very important to have a very lean administrative arrangement, that is to say, avoid building up a large bureaucracy to manage the National Health Insurance."

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said in his January 12, 2020, New Years Address to the nation, “In this year’s budget, I shall expand on our plans for a National Health Insurance Programme. We aim to ensure that all Saint Lucians have insurance and government will cover the vulnerable, elderly and unemployed.”

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