The spokesperson on health for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC's) manifesto committee, Sylvester Mensah says the party intends to fund the primary health care initiative with a percentage of the country's oil revenue should it win the 2020 polls.
Former President and flagbearer of NDC, John Dramani Mahama promised that the next NDC government will implement free primary health care for all Ghanaians under a special arrangement to be managed by the National Health Insurance Authority.
The NDC described this plan “as the fulcrum” around which its Health Policy will revolve should it win power.
It expects to have the policy up and running before the end of 2021 to cover persons who seek healthcare services nationwide.
The NDC's Deputy Campaign Manager, Alex Segbefia, on August 1, 2020, revealed that the initiative will cost $18 million.
A group called the Concerned Citizens Association Ghana subsequently raised doubts about the feasibility of the policy.
In a statement, the group said the NDC is likely to reintroduce cash and carry at secondary and tertiary levels with its promise to provide free healthcare to Ghanaians with or without NHIS ID cards.
“How is he (John Mahama) going to handle referrals of those without NHIS ID cards? How is the NHIS going to provide continuity of the Healthcare of such patients without NHIS ID cards at the secondary and tertiary levels of care?”
But Sylvester Mensah explained on Citi FM’s Voters’ Diary that the initiative will be made possible with funding from oil revenue, among other sources.
“We are looking at completely eliminating the practice of capping and realignment of statutory funds, so that every single amount collected from NHIA levy is retained. We are also talking about excluding the NHIA levy from VAT exemptions. Again, on the issue of oil revenue, we are saying that under the next NDC government, we are going to ensure that some portion of oil revenue is assigned to the NHIA.”
” What we want you to appreciate is that there is no better way of using the oil revenue than to use it on the health of the people. You either have a life or you don’t. We want to place a premium on health,” he added.