Health Minister Marlon Penn has called for a cessation of the “abuse” on the BVI’s National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
Speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, Minister Penn described the issue of NHI as the “elephant in the room” that no one wanted to talk about.
He said NHI scheme has had challenges from its inception and continues to have challenges up to this point.
One of the main challenges, the legislator pointed out, was the issue of making contributions to the agency.
“It’s not just an issue of just making the legislative changes. We have to ensure that those persons who have been neglecting their obligations to pay into the system, pay into the system,“ Penn stated.
Penn said he has looked at existing numbers and if persons who are required to pay into the system had done so, “NHI would be ‘in the black’ currently“.
“So, we have to ensure that persons are in compliance with their obligations to NHI but we also have to make sure that we cut out the abuse that continues to plague the system. Not just the abuse on the system but the abuse on the customers as well,“ Minister Penn argued.
Penn said the government needs to act swiftly to address the needs of the programme.
He added: “We have to make some very tough and uncomfortable and unpopular decisions as it relates to NHI.”
The legislator further stated that he and the government are committed to making those decisions, particularly given the importance of maintaining NHI and its benefits of delivering healthcare and health services to the people of the territory.
According to Penn, he has already had discussions with Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley on an approach to stabilising NHI and on how to move forward with structural changes that are necessary for the scheme’s viability.