Members of the Trade Union congress in Ho have kicked against government’s proposal to deduct an extra one per cent of workers salary to ‘cushion’ the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The visibly angry members said they were already overburdened with the payment of 2.5 per cent of their pension contributions to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) “health box”, and that, taking an additional one per cent directly from their salary would worsen their economic situation.
The sentiments were expressed at an Organised Labour forum on NHIA in Ho, concerning government’s proposal on the deductions.
Mr Emmanuel Gator, Regional First Trustee of the Health Service Workers Association, said there were other means through which government could support the Scheme to stand the test of time without resorting to burdening workers.
He said government could use part of the Heritage Fund to sustain the “health box” of the NHIA and also a reduction on funds spent on ceremonial functions such as Independence celebrations for the Scheme to be viable.
Mr Gator said government should widen its tax net to bring in more revenue and also challenged NHIA to account for the 2.5 per cent already deducted at source for the citizenry to know the true state of the Scheme.
Nene Baah, Human Resource Manager, Volta Regional Hospital, said should the one per cent be approved, all medicines and services under the Scheme be made free and not selective.
Dr. Samuel Annor, Chief Executive Officer, NHIA, said the Scheme had not been able to function effectively due to monies owed service providers who were unwilling to provide services unless they were paid.
He said every insurance scheme must have a reserve that could last for at least six months to cater for the needs of patients but Ghana had none due to arrears owed.
Dr. Annor said the Authority was working round the clock to strengthen the four pillars of the Scheme namely; financial model, receive claims from providers, internal police force, and laws to check defaulters.
He said the one percent deduction would not be limited to only formal sector workers and that those in the informal sector would also be made to pay and expressed gratitude to service providers for their patience and cooperation.
Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary General of TUC, appealed to members to comply with government’s percentage deduction to save lives and improve the Scheme.