Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie has echoed concerns raised by Minister for Labour, Immigration and Natural Resources, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) that the National Health Insurance (NHI), if not reviewed, has the potential to bankrupt the territory.
He was at the time speaking at the July 2, 2020, House of Assembly (HoA) sitting, where he pointed directly to the National Democratic Party (NDP) government of the past as responsible for the current state of affairs.
NDP mistakes failed the institution - Hon Fahie
Under the past NDP administration, NHI was created to provide access to, and financial coverage for health care services to residents of the territory.
However, while Hon Fahie said the institution was started with good intentions, he stressed that it was the mistakes of the NDP that resulted in its ultimate failure.
“NHI never catch itself from then to now and as a matter of fact, the Minister for Natural Resources said it completely, if it is not reviewed it will bankrupt the British Virgin Islands,” Hon Fahie said.
According to Premier, the Government has to bail out NHI with as much as 41M, a financial burden that the territory cannot afford, “Yes we have to fix it, but it is nothing that just started now,” he added.
$1M committed to reviewing NHI - Hon Fahie
As part of phase two of the Fahie Government’s COVID-19 stimulus programme, a $40ML grant was secure from the Social Security Board (SSB), with $1ML to be committed to rescuing NHI.
“$1ML out of that $40ML grant is to revise NHI into such a way that it will become a more broad-based entity almost or even greater, the same or greater as Social Security,” the Premier announced.
He said that reviewing of the government’s insurance is a must and cannot be ignored, “Because if we leave it to go in that way... we will be bankrupt just by NHI alone.”
He noted that the aim is for NHI to be profitable, and not a loss-making institution hence, experienced staff will be hired, “and that $1M is going towards making sure that we get the [right] persons... and the Social Security Board and NHI, will be selecting them.”