Helping Agencies Respond On Healthcare Costs

July 7, 2015

After expressing concern about the cost of healthcare last month, charity groups today said that “as leaders in the helping industry our intent is to continue our means of advocacy until such time as we reach solutions.”

On June 8th, 2015 charity groups convened in a press conference to highlight their concerns about healthcare, with the group “asking for a freeze on all legislative changes to healthcare provision and coverage until there has been substantive community input.”

The charity groups included representatives from Age Concern Bermuda; the Interagency Committee for Children and Families, the Centre on Philanthropy, and the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre; supported by other helping agencies, such as the Family Centre and PRIDE Bermuda and patients and consumers being effected by increases to healthcare insurance costs fueled.

“Pensioner, Mrs. Kathleen Brangman provided her story as a case example. Recent changes in GEHI coverage has resulted in Mrs. Brangman having only $68 a month left over after health insurance coverage deductions,” the group said.

33 minute video of the full press conference held by the charities over healthcare costs on June 8

Speaking on the group’s behalf today [July 7], Charles Jeffers stated, “We called on the Premier, Finance and Health, Seniors and Environment Minister to work swiftly toward ensuring that there is a healthcare safety net for Bermudians of all ages.

“We asked for a freeze on all legislative changes to healthcare provision and coverage until there has been substantive community input on what constitutes basic and affordable healthcare coverage for Bermudians.

“We asked for the institution of a task force that can effectively implement a National Healthcare Policy that addresses the provision of healthcare in a manner that Bermudians of all ages can access and afford, that best meets the needs of the people, as determined in consultation with the people, as a matter of urgency. We asked that the Government not dismiss the call of its community.”

Mr. Jeffers indicated, “Premier Dunkley responded immediately and Minister Atherden returned quickly with Cabinet’s response to our concerns which indicated that a premium freeze could not be met because of the Government’s substantive responsibilities in subsidies to HIP; FutureCare; youth, hospital and other reasons.

“While we have heard the Minister of Health consistently state that the Government cumulatively spends over $100 million on healthcare subsidies our concerns remain that while the Government may possess stewardship over these funds, it is the tax payer who makes these funds available to the Government.

“Subsequently, if the taxpayer is already investing considerable monies into the existing healthcare system, what is the justification for burdening them any further with more taxes, particularly since these taxes are likely to produce an even greater financial burden on the very vulnerable people that these funds are intended to assist?

“Government’s resistance to introduce measures to control the cost of healthcare services brings into question their willingness to address holistically the diverse factors that contribute to costly healthcare in this country.

“Furthermore, the addition and related costs of the new hospital does little to hasten the Government’s resolve to deal with the service provision, cost containment issue and its impact on the consumer/tax payer.

“Clearly, the Government is heavily conflicted in its decision making capacity given the many duplicative roles it plays as legislator, regulator, health insurance provider, health service provider, financial subsidizer and tax collector.

“It is therefore not very surprising to us that the Government is challenged to understand the negative impact of its decision making process on the ordinary consumer and/or the vulnerable population who too often do not have a voice in these matters.

“We do note, however, and appreciate that the Minister has agreed to provide an avenue to further discuss these matters, which she feels will result in a broader consultative dialogue with stakeholders within the next few weeks.

“We look forward to attending this and any other meetings that will provide more sustainable solutions to healthcare costs going forward.

“Despite this progress however, we are not satisfied that we have sufficiently helped the Mrs. Brangman’s of this world who today are left with very little money after paying health insurance premiums. These types of social conditions are unacceptable in a 21st century Bermuda.

“As leaders in the helping industry our intent is to continue our means of advocacy until such time as we reach solutions that adequately protect the consumers; the vulnerable and the people and social organizations who serve them,” concluded Mr Jeffers.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Lala says:

    Which is all a nice way of saying “we really should not have spent $250 million on that new hospital building”. We spent the money on an edifice, rather than the services and the people.

  2. Sad says:

    “Government’s resistance to introduce measures to control the cost of healthcare services brings into question their willingness to address holistically the diverse factors that contribute to costly healthcare in this country.”

    Government has put forward a number of proposals to reign in costs. And they have been rejected time and time again including the need to bring in more people to pay into the system which is supporting an older Bermuda.

    The constant rejection of the numerous proposals and the subsequent criticism of rising costs has now become a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • Zevon says:

      Exactly. The government had not “resisted” cost cutting measures at all. Every time it has introduced one, there are well-organized protests and marches. It’s the opposition in its various guises that resist cost reductions. And the result is what it – higher insurance costs.

      • de fence says:

        Like Greece we think we can “just say no” to austerity. Watch what happens next.

        • Zevon says:

          The People’s Campaign don’t care about us. When we’re in financial chaos their leadership will return to where he comes from without another thought.

    • frank says:

      Well if the police paid for their own. Health care instead of the. Government than it would cut down the cost to the tax per.

      If other goverment workers pay their share than why can’t the police
      This perk to the. Police needs to stop now

  3. B 4 Real says:

    I have paid into Gov’t health plan extra for 36 years. In retirement, we still pay health deductions from our pensions. Now some MPs and others want to burden us with more cost increases on a limited income?? Where is the plan to grow a beneficial island for locals?.

    • Zevon says:

      You think you should be immune from inflation? Good luck with that idea.

  4. frank says:

    This government is clearly not for the people of Bermuda
    Every bill that minister fahy has presented is only making it double harder for Bermudians to
    Get a job in their. Country.

  5. mumbojumbo says:

    Honestly….I don’t pretend to be anything I am not…
    Except for sober, I’ve pretended to be sober a few times…we need affordable medicine…affordable insurance as well….thank you for caring …but …these items are overpriced and do not reflect value for dollar when both are four times what they should be….if I want my doctor in that hospital then that is my choice! Not anyone else’s….my choice also where I receive treatment. No…I am not a smartass…I am a skilled.trained professional in pointing out the obvious…and I speak fluent sarcasm!

  6. Boston Baked Bean says:

    It’s shameful that Bermuda cannot adequately take care of its seniiors and pensioners after all the years they have paid into the system. You work all your life and then the Government sticks it to you in your golden years. Such compassion.