Today we wanted to ask YOU the question: How do you feel about that? Do you feel like you understand how the proposed Health reform changes impacts you? Do you understand the difference between a UNIFIED Health Finance Model and a UNIVERSAL HEALTH PLAN? It is not too late to still ask questions. The “public consultation” may have closed- but you can still contact your local Member of Parliament or the Health Ministry directly.
Lets talk Health Financing.
The UNIFIED system is what the Government indicates you,as the public do not have a say on during this past consultation period. But UNIFIED is likely to be the biggest decision you would have liked to have a say in. UNIFIED is what the Medical community, Patients1st and the Bermuda 1st working groups have asked for more consultation about. Why is this? Because a UNIFIED/SINGLE payer system puts the payment collection into your Governments hands. Which can be a good or bad decision.
Why might you be concerned? Because the Health Minister and BHEC continually refer to a 103 page document from 2012 that formed the basis of their decision to “choose Unified”.
On page 37 of this document Section F – Sources of Funding outlined the Funding OPTIONS analyzed. Here is where we ask you to stop what you are doing and read carefully and then read carefully again.
Here are the funding options analyzed to support a UNIFIED/SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM
1. Premiums- “…the premium could vary by income band by family size or by status..”
2. A Payroll Levy “…the payroll levy could be a single uniform rate a rate that varies with income, or a dollar amount that varied across income bands”
3. Collect funding through the Contributory Pension Fund (CPF). “…to fund healthcare benefits, a levy could be added to the CPF contribution. In addition, during retirement a deduction could be taken from the CPF pension.”
4. Land Tax “…The levy could either be a flat rate or vary with the assessed value of the land and property”
We urge you to pause and carefully re-read item #3. In Friday’s paper it was announced to include ex-pat workers into the Pension fund. On the surface it was portrayed as “the right thing to do”. In reality, it means that a bigger UNIFIED pool of funding will be available to support the proposed HealthCare reform. Stop and read #3 again- when you are at 65 an option of financing is to DEDUCT funds from your pension.
Reading a 103 page document can be tedious. Going to Public forums can be tedious. Signing a petition can be tedious. Contacting your Member of Parliament to specifically ask HOW this Health Care scheme can be funded is not tedious- it is simply your only option if your voice has not yet been heard.
On Dec 5th a petition of 7000 residents asking to 1)rethink the unified approach and 2) extend the public consultation period, was DENIED by the Health Minister. How does that make the People of Bermuda feel?