Remarks by Honourable D. Shane Gibson, MP Minister of Labour and National Insurance and Minister of the Public Service; News Story on the National Health Insurance Scheme For the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas on 16 June 2015:
My Fellow Bahamians
In its “Charter for Governance”, this Progressive Liberal Party promised National Health Insurance to ensure that all Bahamians have access to adequate healthcare, regardless of their social, economic or political status. You will all be aware that we are working assiduously to begin NHI on the 1st January 2016.
It has come to my attention, however, that there is being circulated a falsehood, that once NHI is implemented, the Government intends to reduce the benefits to the uniformed branches.
This rumour is absolutely untrue. The Government of The Bahamas will not, now or in the future, reduce the level of benefits to any person or group of persons currently covered in insurances paid for by the Government.
This year the Budget Estimate of $25 million dollars is $8 million dollars lower than the previous budget because last year there was a surplus of around $8 million dollars. Colina only administers the insurances for the Government. This is because the Government of the Bahamas provides self insurance for Public Servants such as Members of Parliament, senior officers, uniform branches, doctors, nurses and teachers among others. Whenever there is a shortfall, the Government must pay. Should there be occurrences of a surplus, and there have been several, these are credited back to the Government. The premiums for these existing insurances are allocated in the budget in each fiscal year and are based on claims experiences.
I emphatically state again that the rumour is not true and I shall be meeting with each of the uniformed groups to discuss their concerns and allay any fears.