Amazingly, after almost 20 years of promising the people of The Bahamas, National Health Insurance (NHI), the Perry Christie Government still has not come up with a comprehensive program and is now rushing to get something in place prior to the general elections of May 10.
The government sent its emissary, NHI Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux-Isaacs to Grand Bahama this week to solicit signees. Deveaux-Isaacs is a well-grounded, veteran civil servant. His task is a daunting one though, because he is pushing a program, while being unable to satisfy Bahamians that what the government is touting, is something ideal.
Frankly the registration has been low because generally people don’t really relate to what the government has presented thus far on NHI. At the very outset, when Christie used NHI as his major campaign platform plank, leading up to the 2002 general elections, the view held by Bahamians, was that they would be afforded an option more reasonable that the standard private health insurance program but just as accommodating.
For five years, after assuming the government in 2002, the Christie Government failed to put NHI in place. The PLP lost the government in 2007 but regained it in 2012. This is now 2017, five years removed once again from another point of full control, to establish NHI, and there is a rush job going on.
One has to be suspicious.
The situation is compounded by the reported admission of the Minister of Health, that for the future, the government has not earmarked where funding will come from.
This begs a particular question. What will happen if funding for NHI runs out?
Perhaps it is the fear of such a situation that makes it necessary for Deveaux-Isaacs to encourage Bahamians to “keep their private health insurance.” Bahamians had better heed that advice. Given the history of the Christie Government, regarding NHI, nothing is guaranteed.
Despite the uncertainties linked to NHI, the government is seemingly desperate to have something called National Health Insurance on the books prior to May 10. The numbers registered, indicate that there are a lot of people who support the governing party, who are not sure about NHI.
The government has not done a good job of selling the idea to the people. Meanwhile as it fumbles, the people through their paid taxes are funding this apparent broken project.
Deveaux-Isaacs disclosed that just 600 Grand Bahamians had enrolled for NHI and 3,000 overall in the country, as of his visit on Wednesday.
The reason for the small amount is simple. The people have no faith in this government’s approach to NHI.