Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur has said that government is no more in a position to continuously finance the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as its budget is seriously constrained.

“Government budget is seriously constrained and therefore the easy option for saying that allocate some more money to the NHIS is no longer available to us therefore we must innovate. We seriously need to think about other ways of providing financing so that we can increase the coverage of the National health insurance scheme,” he said.

The Vice President made this known at the first major review of the National Health Insurance Scheme on Tuesday.

He said “Even though as we face these financing constraints, we should not abandon the pursuit of good health for our citizens because it is necessary for sustaining the development of the nation.”

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On his part, the Chairman of the Committee tasked to propose reforms for the effectiveness of the scheme said the scheme requires a Patient Protection Council to protect NHIS members and ensure they receive quality health care.

“Let me emphasise that when we say primary health care is going to be the focus of the scheme, we are talking about the aspiration to have universal coverage for all primary health care. However, because of our financial limitation today, the package that would be available when this will be implemented would be initially limited to what is affordable. NHIS is made up of three parties; there are providers who have their organizations, there is a purchaser who is NHIA which is an agency and then you have the beneficiaries but they have no particular body protecting them in the same way as the other two parties,” he said.

“So you want a patient protection council, to be able to be the voice of the beneficiaries with respect to the other two, especially when they feel that they have issues about the way they are treated by the NHIS,” Mr. Atim added.

The seven member committee set up to review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) further recommended a redesigning of the scheme to ensure it becomes effective.