General News of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Source: Communications Directorate, NPP
The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Ghanaians, across the length and breadth of the country, have lost confidence in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) under the leadership of President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
This loss in confidence, Nana Addo explained, is evidenced in the facts and figures being churned out by the National Health Insurance Authority's own annual report presented to parliament, statements made by the Minister of Health, Alban Bagbin, as well as comments from the ordinary Ghanaian to the effect that the scheme is no longer reliable.
According to Nana Addo, the NHIA's own annual reports indicate that active membership of the NHIS has dropped from 9.9 million members in 2008 during the era of the NPP, to 8.2 million members currently under the NDC.
The drop in active membership of the NHIS, Nana Addo explained, was one of the indicators pointing to the loss of confidence in the scheme.
Addressing the NDC’s assertions that utilization rates of the NHIS had increased to 25 million, Nana Akufo-Addo explained this increase could only mean that Ghanaians are getting sicker under the NDC.
He explained that what the 25 million utilization rates being trumpeted by the NDC could only mean that the 8.2 million Ghanaians currently subscribed to the NHIS have reported to the hospital a total number of 25 million times this year alone. This situation, Nana Addo said, is opposed to that which pertained under the NPP, where the 9.9 million subscribers to the NHIS reported to the hospital a total of 9.9 million times in 2008; implying a healthier Ghana under the NPP.
Total renewal of rates of the NHIS across the country had also reduced drastically under the NDC, Nana Addo added.
Another pointer to the mismanagement of the NHIS by the NDC government, Nana Addo said, was the fact that the scheme is now running at a deficit.
Nana Addo explained that the Kufuor-led NPP government bequeathed the NHIA with a surplus of some GH¢350 million. However, under the NDC government, the NHIA is running a deficit to the tune of GH¢379 million and rising.
The NPP Presidential Candidate recalled a 20th September 2012 statement by the Minister of Health, Alban Bagbin, who said that the NHIS has been running at a deficit since 2010, adding that “the stability of the scheme is of great concern to government.”
Nana Addo chided the Mahama administration for presiding over the scheme's mismanagement and wondered whether the walkout of parliament in 2003 by John Mahama, then MP for Bole Bamboi, and his colleague NDC MPs has necessitated their mismanagement of the scheme.
He described the NDC's 2008 manifesto promise of implementing a one-time NHIS premium as the biggest political hoax in Ghana's history. The promise, not surprisingly, is missing from the 2012 NDC manifesto.
The NPP flagbearer assured Ghanaians that his administration will revive and restore confidence in the NHIS and will put competent technocrats and not political hacks at the helm of affairs of the NHIS.