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24.07.2003 Health

PNC: Delay passage of Health Insurance Bill

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Accra, July 24, GNA - Dr Edward Mahama, Leader of the People's National Convention (PNC), on Thursday, advised government to delay the passage of the Health Insurance Bill, which is currently before Parliament, to allow the various parties and organisations concerned to have more discussions and make their final input.

He said it would be better to delay the Bill and craft the policy that would take the country through the 21st Century since it involved the lives of Ghanaians.

He was speaking at a press conference to add the party's voice to the numerous calls to delay the passing of the Bill.

The PNC Leader said: "It will be unfortunate if for political reasons of partisan interest, the Bill will be hastily passed and we will fail to craft a reform that would ensure quality medical service, its value and the sustainability of the system".

He said the party was very much in agreement with the concept of the health insurance to replace 'cash and carry' but disagreed with the timing.

The Bill could still wait for more discussion and be passed by the end of the year rather than rushing and making mistakes that would affect everybody, the PNC Leader said.

Dr Mahama also noted that contributors had not been well informed about the new system and called for more education on the collection of the premiums before its passage.

"Health insurance is a highly complex area and people need to understand the implications and react."

He said the PNC was afraid that the schemes, which the Bills said would be community-owned, would eventually become government-owned despite the assurances by government.

"If we are not careful, the Bill would kill current insurance initiatives, both in the private commercial sector and the mutual health organization area. The Bill would compel all Ghanaians to join only district insurance scheme, thereby in fact destroying all existing schemes."

Dr Mahama said he hoped the problems would be addressed if more time was given for further discussions.

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