May 1st Rally To Focus On Affordable Healthcare

April 24, 2018 | 18 Comments

May 1st marks International Workers’ Day, and the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] is inviting all affiliate union members and citizens of Bermuda to join the BTUC at a rally and march starting from Victoria Park at 12pm.

BTUC President Jason Hayward said, “On May 1, 2018, International Workers’ Day [May Day], the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] will join with global fraternal Unions and the rest of the world to remember the struggles and celebrate the contributions that workers have made in the fight for universal rights, privileges and the rule of law.

“The BTUC’s theme for 2018 is ‘Affordable and Accessible Healthcare in Bermuda for All.’ Recognising that the cost of Bermuda’s healthcare is alarming to all workers and their families, the BTUC selected this year’s theme as a means to implore all stakeholders to commit to finding solutions to Bermuda’s healthcare crisis.

“To that end, the BTUC is calling on all affiliate union members and citizens of Bermuda to join the BTUC at a rally and march on May 1st starting from Victoria Park at 12pm.

2018 BTUC - Intl Workers' Day Bermuda April 24 2018

“The Bermuda Health Strategy Report 2014 – 2019 states: ‘Compared to other high-income countries Bermuda’s health system is not providing value for money as measured by health outcomes for the level of expenditure.’

“It is undisputable that Bermuda’s health system is overly-strained and failing Bermuda’s residents. This is evident as all residents do not have access to basic health insurance coverage and healthcare contributions are not affordable.

“In addition, the long-term healthcare needs of our seniors are not being met. At the core of this issue, healthcare provider fees are largely unregulated and overutilised, seemly placing profit over people.

“According to Bermuda’s 2017 National Health Accounts Report, Bermuda’s per capita health expenditure stands at $11,362, out-ranking all other OECD countries

“As Bermuda’s working population declines through retirement and job losses and total health system costs continues to rise, greater healthcare financial contributions are required from the current and retired workforce. This is having negative impact on both workers and pensioners as their purchasing power is eroded by healthcare inflation.

“Many senior citizens are finding it extremely challenging to cope as a large portion of their pensions are earmarked to pay for prescription drugs, diagnostic tests and other associated healthcare costs.

“This financial burden depletes their limited disposable income leaving seniors with limited resources for other basic necessities. Investigations continue to reveal that many Bermudians are electing to go without healthcare insurance coverage because it is simply unaffordable.

“Further exacerbating this precarious problem, there is an increasing number of employers who are offering workers vendor contracts in order to avoid having to pay benefits especially the mandatory health insurance premiums.

“The BTUC is advocating for a sustainable and improved healthcare system and requests that all stakeholders make a concerted effort to ensure there is universal healthcare coverage in Bermuda.

“We call on all stakeholders to work together to ensure that:

  • all residents have access to basic health insurance coverage;
  • healthcare coverage contributions are affordable; and
  • all residents have access to healthcare services

“We need a healthcare system that is people-centric rather than profit-driven. Universal health coverage should be the aim and affordable health care should be viewed as a human right and not a commodity.

“Further, it is recognised that individuals must commit to healthier lives. The Government must commit to mapping out a clear strategy with regulations that meets Bermuda’s health care needs.

“Healthcare providers must become more efficient and cost-effective. Failure to act will put more lives at risk and will keep many residents locked-out of accessible and affordable healthcare.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    Aren’t these the same folks who supported DREB is his quest to keep healthcare costs high?

    • aceboy says:

      Yes they are.

      They want Health Care costs to be low but want Dr. Brown to be paid and were overjoyed at the decision of the court in the US to throw out the case against Lahey.

      A very confused bunch.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The BTUC’s theme for 2018 is ‘Affordable and Accessible Healthcare in Bermuda for All.’”

    Excellent. Now how about mentioning the fact that Government has effectively abolished FutureCare? Have you even read the health care legislative changes made this year?

    Oh, and as for the claim that “healthcare provider fees are largely unregulated and overutilised” they are not “largely unregulated”, that has been a source of recent complaint. To the extent they are “overutilised” that is by people, not insurers. Insurers cannot “overutilised” claims that have not been made by an insured person.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    “..As Bermuda’s working population declines through retirement and job losses and total health system costs continues to rise, greater healthcare financial contributions are required from the current and retired workforce….”

    Job losses? Why do you think that is?

  4. nerema says:

    aren’t these the same people that march and complain any time anyone suggests a way of reducing healthcare costs?

  5. campervan says:

    Health costs. The biggest issue we face that could quickly gut the residential population. Healthcare is free in the UK.
    The more people leave, the less people contributing to the pot, the higher the premiums will rise. Vicious cycle.
    Anybody see a solution?
    I don’t.

    • shrew says:

      yes, increase the population! get people here who want to start up biz and make them Bermudian so there is an incentive to keep profits here

      • campervan says:

        Good luck selling that. The pathways to citizenship was shot down in flames with protests and, to date, nothing has been offered up as an alternative. In the meantime the Exodus of locals continues while competitors such as Cayman reap the rewards of a Pathways system.
        I guess Pathways is too better a pill to swallow here despite the likes of health costs going through the roof, increasing national debt and depopulation. I see no hope.

  6. harold e says:

    I’m intrigued by this for a few reasons. First, has Mr Hayward put anything in place that encourages union members to take better care of their health, helping to reduce claims/costs?

    Two, does his thinking here influence his thinking when it comes to wearing his senatorial hat? Does he recuse himself when health is discussed at caucus etc?

  7. Dd says:

    There are some employers only offer HIP insurance so that they pay the absolute minimum. With HIP insurance you can not get prescriptions. Physical exams are close to $300.

  8. David says:

    The solution is straightforward:

    1. Increase res-pop (tip of the hat to the late, great Larry Burchall)
    2. We Onions must choose to live a more healthy lifestyle

    I could’ve missed it, but I don’t see any mention of either in this memo. Mind you, I suppose marching is a “step” in the right direction toward achieving goal #2 :)

  9. Shift says:

    Strange…a year ago this same Union would be calling for a March and protest?

    So, if the government has changed ….but nothing else has, then where are the signs, the meetings, the notice of a March, or the work stoppage? We all know the answer. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    This is just lips service on behalf of the Union. Just a message to keep themselves seem current.

    The more things change the more they remain the same.

      • Zevon says:

        Still no new jobs

      • shrew says:

        YOU GET OVER IT! when will you learn money does not grow on trees? and while we’re on the topic of money, where is the Union’s Financial Statements? all you seem to want to do is condone bad behaviour and waste taxpayers money. perhaps you’re not a taxpayer? perhaps you have a job which is paid for by the taxpayer? Bermuda will continue to be a backwater country with backward thinking people like you until we get the POLITICS and the bullying by certain people, … etc OUT of Bermuda.

  10. Realist says:

    What’s the point of a stupid rally. Jason Hayward had the opportunity to negotiate better health care rates but didn’t even bother as he has been more concerned about his political career. Negotiations are over and it reflects on the members to be so non-proactive to ask for better co-pay etc. Currently the private sector gets $250 a day for hotel costs overseas while GEHI pays $140. You have known of these differences and done nothing. Members will only realize how inadequate the health benefits are when they get sick and need urgent medical care overseas.

  11. Hmmm says:

    This may be a great opportunity for us to begin a conversation about single-payer health care.

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