Shama, (W/R) Feb.22 - GNA - Mrs Angelina Baiden-Amissah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Shama, on Tuesday said it is estimated that it would cost the government between 70 and 120 billion cedis annually to replace the cash and carry system and finance health care in public facilities. She disclosed this at the inauguration the 11-member Board of Trustees of the Shama Sub-Metropolitan Mutual Health Insurance Scheme at the first meeting of the General Assembly of the scheme at Shama near Sekondi.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah, who is a Deputy Minister of Education and Sports designate, said the government is currently financing the scheme by borrowing 2.5 percent out of a 17.5 percent levy that about 850,000 people in the formal sector to the Social Security Scheme. She said a new 2.5 percent National Health Insurance Levy would also be pumped into a fund to cater for those who cannot afford to make contributions.
Mrs Baiden-Amissah said from the beginning of August 2004, a levy of two and a half percent was levied on goods and services to support the National Health Insurance Scheme.
She said the levy was being collected by the Valued Added Tax (VAT) Service, managed by the National Health Insurance Council and covers a wider range of goods and services compared to VAT.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah said the National Insurance levy was not being charged on a range of carefully selected goods and services such as medical, water, education, electricity, fishing nets, basic agricultural products and foodstuffs.
She said this is to ensure that the less privileged in the society were not overburdened.
Nana Brafo Dadzie II, Chief of Upper Shama Junction, who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said the Shama Sub-Metropolitan Mutual Insurance Scheme was among the first to be inaugurated because of its concern for the health of the people in the area.
He said the Board of Trustees would do everything in its power to ensure that the scheme succeeds in the area.
Nana Dadzie called on the chiefs and people of the area to co-operate with the Board to enable it to achieve this laudable objective. Mr. Franklin Blankson, Manager of the Scheme, said the way is now opened for the scheme to register with the Registrar-General Department now that the Board of Trustees and the General Assembly of the Scheme are in place.
He expressed concern about the poor response of about 3,500 registered subscribers of the scheme to the payment of the premiums and urged members of the Board and the Assembly to help educate the people to change this attitude.
Nana Adjoa Mankrado VI, Chief of Upper Inchaban, who presided commended the government for instituting the scheme to improve the health status of the people.
Mr. Tsatu Azumah, a magistrate swore-in the Board of Trustees.