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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003


Minority Boycotts Proceedings On Health Insurance

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The Minority in Parliament has decided to boycott further committee proceedings on the National Health Insurance, which began on Tuesday. According to them, their decision is to ensure that the interests of the people of Ghana are protected and defended. The Minority argues that the proposals for the financing of the Scheme were drawn up without much consideration of additional financial burden that would be placed on Ghanaians.

The group is standing by its arguments that the two and a half per cent National Insurance Levy will amount to an increase in the Value Added Tax from twelve and a half to fifteen percent, thus imposing more tax on the already over taxed Ghanaians.

''According to the Bill, the National Health Insurance scheme is to be funded by two and a half percent out of 17 and a half percent of workers contributions to the SSNIT Fund. Calculations reveal that if this is implemented, it will take only 25 years for the SSNIT Pension Scheme to collapse. This will put the future pensions of the working people of Ghana in jeopardy'', a statement signed by Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin added.

The group says it is not opposing the bill, but is of the view that government should not rush through with the bill. ''The Minority supports an efficient and well-planned National Health Insurance Scheme. Indeed it should be noted that it was under the government of the NDC that the idea of a National Health Insurance Scheme was mooted and pilot projects established in selected districts. However, the scheme as presently envisaged by this bill, will not respond to the current and future healthy needs of Ghanaians''.

The Minority therefore calls on the government to engage in further consultations on the issues of financing and operation of the scheme with all the stakeholders across the length and breadth of the country.

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