Jamaica Information Service – Minister of Health Dr Christopher says work is progressing on a National Health Insurance Scheme for Jamaicans.
“We have brought teams together to look at healthcare financing…how are we going to pay for the increasing cost of healthcare, and that is going to morph into a National Health Insurance Scheme,” Dr. Tufton said.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Hospital Information Management System on July 27.
Dr. Tufton noted that since he became Minister of Health in 2016, a workshop was held where stakeholders from different Caribbean countries were brought together under the patronage of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which brought several experts to assess the critical components of healthcare financing that would play a part in the success of such a scheme.
Following this, the Ministry of Health embarked on a study. “That study is almost complete, in terms of the proposals for a National Health Insurance Scheme. We have done studies on the composition/the structure of healthcare [with] the Regional Health Authorities, reviewing their performance over the years, looking at whether we should have adjustments to the structure of healthcare,” he said.
In addition to this, Dr. Tufton said public health is going through a pretransformational period, which is good for the country.
The Minister said change is needed, with or without a National Health Insurance Scheme, for the nation to advance with regard to healthcare services.
“Life is dynamic, health profile changes and behaviour changes. The need to respond has to also be dynamic, and if we don’t keep with the changing times, then clearly we will become less competitive. We will be left behind and… the consequences of that [will be on] the people we serve or seek to serve. They will be at a disadvantage,” he said.