General News of Thursday, 23 August 2012

Source: myjoyonline

NHIA chides Akufo-Addo over alleged collapse

The National Health Insurance Authority has condemned remarks made by the New Patriotic Party flag-bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the effect that the National Health Insurance Scheme is facing imminent collapse.

The NPP flag-bearer at the Institute of Economic Affairs Evening Encounter Tuesday stated that “the last NPP government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme to remove the constant fear of falling ill under the inhumane Cash & Carry system. It has been painful to watch the NDC government try its best to collapse the NHIS, whilst struggling to implement their unrealistic one-time premium promise. Today, the fear of getting sick is back. The NHIS has been degraded and Cash & Carry is back.”

The former Deputy Director, Corporate and Strategic Affairs at the NHIA, Eric Ametor-Quarmyne told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampo that Nana Addo’s pronouncements on the Scheme are unfounded and are “most unfortunate”.

Mr Ametor-Quarmyne said Nana Addo’s remarks about the NHIS only sought to erode the public confidence in the Scheme which needs public trust to survive.

According to Mr Ametor-Quarmyne, “Nana Akufo-Addo has no basis in facts and figures to say that the NHIS has collapsed. To do that you need to look at our operations. And there are three areas that one should look at in order to come to any conclusion on the operation of the NHIS. These are 1. Membership 2. Utilization 3. The ability of the Scheme to pay service providers for service rendered to NHIS subscribers.”

He further added that “If you fail to do any of these three altogether, then you are not being factual, you’re not being honest and you’re not being credible in your pronouncements. And Nana Akufo-Addo unfortunately Tuesday was not factual, he was not honest, he was not credible.”

To back his claims, Mr. Ametor-Quarmyne said the subscriber based of the NHIS as at 2011 has grown to 22,940,181. Out of this number, Mr. Ametor Quarmyne revealed that over 9 million accessed health care using their membership last year.

Mr. Ametor-Quarmyne dismissed assertions that the scheme owes service providers. He stated the Act 650 which established the NHIS made it a credit scheme that can owe service providers up to 90 days in arrears hence those claims are again unfounded.

But a former Minister of Health in the Kufuor administration, Dr. Richard Anane defended his party’s stance on the NHIS. According to him, a way to assess whether the scheme is doing well is to analyze the willingness of health service providers to join the scheme.

Dr. Anane said the NHIS which was in dire state introduced the capitation policy in the Ashanti region which has rendered most private health providers in the region unhappy with the scheme.

He said the capitation policy has led to health providers opting for co-payment rather than accepting the NHIS card.

According to Dr. Anane, “if you go to Ashanti region, they are doing co-payment which is not one of the things envisaged for the NHIS”.

Dr. Anane said the current state of the NHIS has led to disgruntlement amongst some private health service providers who are not happy with the claims they are given by the scheme.

The former health Minister also cited the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital outburst on the state of the NHIS as clinical example that the Scheme is not functioning properly.