Mr Collins Ntim, the Member of Parliament for Offinso South, has urged the Government to adopt alternative approaches to close the financing gap in the budget of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“As we speak, in this year’s budget alone, there is close to a GHC500 million gap,” Mr Ntim said adding that there was a need for a presidential or cabinet decision and the political commitment to address the challenges of the scheme.
The system, he said, was virtually dying, with serious repercussions for poor patients, while health institutions were gradually adopting a disguised or plain ‘cash and carry’ system, because of the delay or non-payment of health insurance claims by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) .
Mr Collins Ntim said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
He expressed regret that the inability of the NHIA to pay claims on time was prompting health institutions and service providers to adopt a ‘cash and carry’ system whiles some were even turning patients away.
Mr Ntim, who is also the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Health, said the Committee expected to soon meet the sector Minister for an appraisal on the existing financing gap.
He said a recent proposal of an additional 2.5 per cent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) should be ceded to the scheme, while the current the one per cent VAT contribution should be increased.
Mr Ntim said additionally, one per cent of the Infrastructure Fund should be ceded to support the National Health Insurance Levy, and recommended a self-introspection of the NHIA to see how best to prioritise operations in claims management.
He said the current development and investment into health infrastructure was good but wondered what benefits the people would derive, if they were not cared for in such buildings for lack of money for medical care.