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National Health Insurance – the way to go!

National Health Insurance –  the way to go!

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EDITOR: Let me first say thanks to all who provided positive feedback to my recent writings encouraging our politicians to move in the direction of providing health care for the poor and indigent in this country, and I’m not exempt. After all, politicians are there to articulate the needs of the electorate as well as fulfilling OUR wishes especially if it is for the national good.

It is a fact that the majority of Vincentians cannot afford health insurance! Our lifestyle and eating habits have created a multiplicity of medical and other health issues, some of which CANNOT be adequately managed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that is also a fact!

So what is the solution … National Health Insurance (NHI) !!! And for NHI to be useful, all able bodied working Vincentians and foreigners working in SVG must start contributing to the pot. The sooner the better! Had we started it since 2001, the pot would have been more than sufficient to adequately satisfy our medical needs in 2020 and beyond, but then again it isn’t too late to start, better late than never!

Now is the time for both the Governing Party who control the majority of electoral seats in Parliament and the NDP that has the support of the majority of the electorate, to, like gentlemen, sit down and discuss the the future of health care service in SVG and hopefully within the first 100 days of of this new Parliament.

With the proposed construction of a modern hospital, there will be services that will have to be paid for and here is where NHI can step in to cushion the economic impact of advanced medical care for everyone. Look at how much funds have already been realized since the extra 1 percent was added to VAT as a disaster mitigation fund. Maybe parliament can re-direct that 1 percent to setting up the NHI service (NHIS) for one year, as ‘new taxes’ is always a dirty word for taxpayers. But the reality is that if a National Health Insurance Service is to work for our collective good, we must all contribute to it, including senior citizens and those receiving pension.

Our Prime Minister said that he is an ‘all inclusive’ man, so let’s get the discussion going, because this an issue that he cannot say NO to. I know he has a soft spot and compassion for the poor and indigent, as exemplified some years ago when a landslide buried part of a family and a 3 or 4-year-old survivor notified the neighbours that the family was buried in mud and as a result those who responded were able to save one of the family members. The comrade later provided a house for that child’s family. Let’s not forget that!

In closing, the discussion has started on these pages, let it continue in the House. Jimmy this is one for you.

Donald De Riggs

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