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General News of Thursday, 23 August 2012

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Sly Mensah Slaps Akufo-Addo

...Says he is shallow minded and ignorant

The Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority, Mr. Sylvester Mensah, took pains to expose the hollowness of the NPP flagbearer, Mr. Akufo-Addo, with regards to the current status of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Not only did Mr. Mensah expose Akufo-Addo’s ignorance with regards to the NHIS, but the Chief Executive also seized the opportunity to educate the ignorant NPP flagbearer on the current status of the NHIS.

The NPP flagbearer, it may be recalled, made a categorical statement at the IEA forum on Tuesday to the effect that the National Health Insurance Scheme has virtually collapsed.

Mr. Akufo-Addo did not offer a single statistic to back his wild claim; a claim that political analysts believe was only intended to spark anxiety in NHIS holders such that they would start withdrawing from the scheme on the basis of the false belief that Akufo-Addo is trying to plant in their minds.

Mr. Akufo-Addo’s strategy to undermine confidence in the NHIS and therefore to provoke a situation where clients would start withdrawing from the scheme en-masse, is not dissimilar to the strategy that the NPP used in the beginning of the year to spark anxiety over the health of the cedi, and thereby causing panic that resulted in people dumping their holdings in cedis in preference for holdings in dollars and other ‘more reliable’ foreign currencies.

However, anobviously fully alert Sylvester Mensah, would not allow Mr. Akufo-Addo and his party to succeed this time around.

In a characteristic timeous response, Mr. Mensah showed that far from being described as a scheme that is collapsing, the National Health Insurance Scheme is rather now not only enjoying improved patronage, but that user-confidence in the scheme has, in the last three to four years that the NDC has been in charge of affairs, shot up to over 80%.

Mr. Sylvester Mensah explained that any objective analysis of a social scheme such as Ghana’s NHIS must take into consideration Membership of the scheme, Utilization rate of members, and the ability of the Scheme to pay service providers for service rendered.

He explained that on all of these three fronts, the status of the NHIS today is healthier than it was when the NDC came to power in January 2009.

For instance, with regards to membership of the scheme, a scheme that, according to Mr. Akufo-Addo is supposedly collapsing, has increased its membership by over 100% over what it was prior to the NDC coming to office.

Mr. Mensah further explained that utilisation rate of members of the scheme is the real test of the level of confidence that members of the scheme have in the scheme.

On the basis of the above, Mr. Mensah pointed out the absurdity in any claim that seeks to suggest that the NHIS is collapsing at a time that member-utilisation rate has shot up to over 80% of what used to be the case prior to the NDC coming to power in January 2009.

On the third leg, as to whether the scheme is able to pay service providers, Mr. Mensah made it clear that the act of Parliament that established the NHIS itself envisages that the scheme would owe service providers for a period not exceeding ninety-days.

Thus, anybody who wants to show that the NHIS has become incapable of paying service providers must show that the scheme is owing service providers for a period beyond the ninety-days stipulated by the law; which Akufo-Addo has not been able to do because none exists.

Mr. Mensah advised political figures and politicians to desist from trying to erode public confidence in the NHIS.

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