Roberts: Bahamians deserve NHI as a basic human right and benefit of citizenship Part II

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Statement by PLP Chairman on NHI

PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts
PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts

Again Dr. Hubert Minnis and the Free National Movement find themselves on the wrong side of history as they did with the introduction of National Insurance and on every other major progressive initiative that collectively formed the modern Bahamas, benefiting all Bahamians.

I invite the Public to check out the PLP’s record. The FNM has a reputation of opposing, saying No, or not now as they did for Independence and the formation of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force etc.

The one time the Progressive Liberal Party reluctantly listened to the advice of the FNM was on the introduction of National Youth Service almost thirty years ago and the Bahamas has been reaping a terrible backlash since then. Further, when introduced with the support of Y.E.A.S.T. and the Roman Catholic Church in North Andros, the FNM cancelled the program on coming to office in 2007 claiming it was too expensive. The terrible backlash continues from the ill-advised policy decisions of the FNM.

There is no chaos surrounding the implementation of NHI created by this government as suggested by the FNM. The Government has announced that National Health Insurance will be phased in over several years and a plan has been laid out. Further, it was announced that the cost for phase one of the plan would be borne by the Government at no additional cost to the Bahamian people.

The BIA has been very vocal in the media over its opposition to a public option and Dr. Duane Sands of the FNM has sought to create confusion and chaos in the public domain with offensive remarks. Dr. Sands should be the last person any Bahamian listens to on the issue of universal health care as he has a reputation for being offensive and mean spirited. Here is a man from reports received who also has a reputation for allegedly refusing medical services on patients who does not have full insurance or deep pockets to cover services rendered. That mean spirited nature followed him in the Elizabeth by-election and the General election and no doubt contributed to his loss. His is the legacy of putting a poor family out of their home in Yellow Elder in the street will always be remembered.

For its part the government continues to work with its public and private sector partners in concluding level of service and costs agreements but those details have not been concluded to date so it would be premature and ill advised to comment on those issues.

Over 100,000 Bahamians have no health insurance coverage and many are dying prematurely because of a lack of health insurance. This state of affairs cannot continue if we are all committed to building a modern and stronger Bahamas.

The Public may also wish to consider who is fueling much of the opposition to NHI and inquire as to who controls the largest private health insurance company and the Nassau Guardian.

The FNM compares favorably to the Republicans in the USA who bitterly opposed the affordable Healthcare Act introduced by President Barack Obama and the Democrats which has expanded new health coverage to seventeen million American citizens and gowning.

Dr. Minnis and the FNM have not provided details of their version of a promised National Health Insurance program but continue to stall, bluff, and posture, deflect and cry wolf.

The Bahamas deserves better than that. Bahamians deserve NHI as a basic human right and benefit of citizenship.