Minister Updates On National Health Plan

September 26, 2012

“Making sure that all people have health coverage and that they can afford this coverage is a basic standard promoted by health experts worldwide. We are committed to achieving that standard,” said Health Minister Zane DeSilva this morning [Sept 26].

The Minister held a press conference to update on the National Health Plan, which he said “provides a necessary vision and is a roadmap for our health system to address the challenges we face by building on the systems’ strengths.

“Our health system works well in many areas and for many people. But if you are unemployed or your income is low, it does not work well.”

Minister DeSilva continued: “However, even those that can afford good health insurance right now will face challenges in the long run if we don’t contain costs.

“Bermuda, like many countries around the world, has healthcare costs that are rising at a pace that is unsustainable. This rate of increase will only get worse as our senior population grows to 25% of the population by 2033, as seniors have greater healthcare costs than younger people.

“We must improve the design of our system to be able to deal with this growing challenge.”

“We have over 70 people including doctors, insurers, business persons and community advocates working on six Task Groups to develop the solutions that will achieve these goals and improve our health system,” said the Minister.

Minister DeSilva’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning Everyone,

Thank you for being here today for an update on the actions underway to improve our healthcare system.

Last November we adopted the National Health Plan. The Plan provides a necessary vision and is a roadmap for our health system to address the challenges we face by building on the systems’ strengths.

Our health system works well in many areas and for many people.

But if you are unemployed or your income is low, it does not work well.

Making sure that all people have health coverage and that they can afford this coverage is a basic standard promoted by health experts worldwide. We are committed to achieving that standard.

However, even those that can afford good health insurance right now will face challenges in the long run if we don’t contain costs.

Bermuda, like many countries around the world, has healthcare costs that are rising at a pace that is unsustainable. This rate of increase will only get worse as our senior population grows to 25% of the population by 2033, as seniors have greater healthcare costs than younger people.

We must improve the design of our system to be able to deal with this growing challenge.

Also, despite the amount that we spend on healthcare, our population is less healthy than in countries that spend less! Therefore, we need to not only slow down the rise in healthcare costs but also improve the value for money in our system in order to keep our economy and our people healthy.

The National Health Plan has 11 goals that together will address the challenges facing our health system.

We have over 70 people including doctors, insurers, business persons and community advocates working on six Task Groups to develop the solutions that will achieve these goals and improve our health system.

The Benefit Design Task Group was tasked with proposing benefits to be included in an expanded Standard Hospital Benefit – what we are calling the Standard HEALTH Benefit.

The Task Group has produced options which have been turned over to the Finance and Reimbursement Task Group.

Finance and Reimbursement have tasked our actuaries with determining what those options would cost; how to make an expanded minimum package available and affordable to everyone through the smarter use of our resources; and what impacts such changes will have on everyone involved in the healthcare system.

We will be holding public consultation on these proposals, including their costs and overall impacts, near the end of the year.

These core reforms are supported by the work being undertaken by the other Task Groups in areas such as long term care, health promotion and Health IT.

A general meeting of all the Task Groups is being planned for November of this year. This will be an opportunity for the Groups to update each other on their work and continue a process of networking and idea sharing to develop the solutions that will improve our health system.

From what I have said, it may seem that we are changing the entire healthcare system, but let me be clear, we are NOT changing everything, we are building on what works.

For example, Bermuda’s healthcare system has, historically, been well served by a mixture of public and private professionals, and this will remain…….. as will your ability to choose your own healthcare professional.

However, we must think boldly and broadly to ensure that the improvements which we make to the healthcare system benefit all of us ……..today and into the future.

The implementation of the National Health Plan is an open process, and we encourage everyone to visit our website or Facebook page for more information, and we will continue to update the public on a regular basis.

Thank you.

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Comments (16)

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  1. alicia says:

    Perhaps I’ve gone deaf… but I can’t hear him…

  2. Chardonnay says:

    hmm…when the Minister says he is NOT doing something (quote “we are NOT changing everything”) it’s time to start worrying. He wants proportional payment, a.k.a. income tax, to pay for his Plan – and that’s not all. Better read his National Health Plan and all the fine print before believing him and all the pre-election spin.

    • pepper says:

      The health minister knows his days are numbered….and Paula Cox also knows her reign is going to be over very soon..time for a change…

  3. Terry says:

    I can smell the Cedar now.

  4. Reality Check says:

    Please, please assure me, and much more importantly our International Business partners, that our Government is NOT going to introduce “proportional payments” for health care. That is INCOME TAX plain and simple, and we will then be subject to the law of unintended consequences. It’s really simple to follow the consequences. INCOME TAX IN – INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS OUT. Is this what the Minister means by not changing everything?

  5. 16s32e says:

    I see if minister Desilva had his way he would raise everything 500% along with the junk food that gets sold here on the island. Minister please rethink your comments before you and your team SINK this island deep than we are. I know you live in a bubble unlike the average Bermudian that is feeling the pinch in this economic climate. So pop your bubble take off your rose colored glasses and take a real look at your National Health Plan because in a few years you will be paying into it and looking for coverage from it and there will be nothing there and the only person you can blame is yourself .

  6. Vulpes says:

    This is a Government that is not only devoid of ideas and in their place has chosen to campaign with cliches that are completely unaffordable and unrealistic unless they are looking to drive all business away; no, this is something far, far worse – a Government that is not rotten to the core but from the core. Yes, that is you Minister we are talking about.

  7. Argosy says:

    When you get close to a rubbish dump, you start to smell the garbage!

    BTW….whatever happened to that “son of the soil” document??

    The Privy Council (at our expense) ruled that it should be released to the public….

    The Auditor General was incarerated over it…..

    Where is it buried??

  8. fred says:

    If we strive to be like the rest of the world, then we will be… destitute like other major countries. Our government is very liberal, because that’s what buys votes. When you promise to hand out something for free (which it’s NOT) then people flock to you and vote in your favor because they are looking to gain something for themselves. The problem with this is that the government must keep supplying the handouts to keep their positions in the next elections and secondly but more important is that once these frankenstein policies are in place they never go away and draw down the entire country until its demise. If you don’t believe it then check out Greece. Our government believes they can continue to hand out to everyone, but liberalism eventually fails. With increased social programs comes higher taxes and eventually lower employment. As time passes more citizens have less because of high taxation to support government mandated social services. In the end societies fail when more citizens realize they can claim from these social programs than those that work to fund them.

    America – high taxes ~ 38% of wages, plus local, state, city taxes adds up to ~48% of your income. Average working citizens are working two or three part time McJobs to make ends meet, but he social services are heavily overburdended. Social security is on the verge of collapse, and so on and so on.

    Europe – similar economic problems, high taxes ~60% of wages, failed economic system.

    Do you really want socialism here in Bermuda?

    • navin johnson says:

      we have socialism here…..other countries have higher income taxes but examine ours…15% wage tax….hospital levy…duty of 25% on most everything..social insurance…Government in Bermuda tacks duty on everything which gets passed back to us….Employers pay much of the tax here and people still cannot makes ends meet with food and utilities among the highest in the world….if you have income tax you do away with all of the duty and surcharges right?

  9. The beginning of the end of Bermuda. Income tax will create an icredible sucking sound as all the sensible people leave with their money. All part of Dr. B’s plan so that he can come back & plunder a poor Island populated by an ignorant resentful population

  10. Babydoll says:

    I believe that Mr.Desilva maybe looking at the way the health care system works in Canada, and I think that this maybe the way to go in the future. Yes the taxes are higher but everyone would be covered under this type of plan. It works off your disposalable income, you are taxed health tax on the amount of money you spend. the less you spend the less you pay, the more you spend the more you pay, but everyone gets equal health care. If everyone looks at Canada and sees how the country is doing I think it just may work in BDA. No one goes to jail in Canada for debt caused by fundamental health care.

  11. The National Health Plan will certainly give more people access to health coverage. But just like Obama’s Affordable Care Act, it will most likely increase taxes on everyone. Hopefully, it will work for Bermuda and reduce the country’s healthcare costs in the long run.