OBA Call For Health Plans To Be ‘Put On Hold’

December 9, 2019 | 26 Comments

[Updated] “The Premier needs to accept that Bermudians are deeply worried about universal health care plans and must put them on hold until more details are available,” Shadow Health Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin said.

Ms. Gordon-Pamplin said, “We have seen the Chamber of Commerce say that, ‘Government must pause and carefully consider its direction. Our healthcare system has its problems, so let’s fix those issues. Creating a whole new system with a whole new set of issues is highly unlikely to move us in the right direction’.

“We have seen doctors warn of health care being jeopardised, we have seen Philip Butterfield, the chairman of the BermudaFirst advisory group, say that the ‘pursuit of a single-payer approach in the absence of detailed data about the endgame is a recipe for, in our judgment, confusion, discord and unintended consequences, and I feel that it is going to fracture our community’.

“Mr Butterfield went on to say, ‘BermudaFirst supports a holistic approach to this critical issue and believes that it is necessary to obtain external, globally recognised expertise to assist us in developing a multi-faceted solution to this challenge’.

“An Age Concern meeting on the health plan was left with standing room only and about 6,000 people have signed a petition against universal health care.

The 74-minute live video replay of the Age Concern meeting held last week:

“Henry Dowling, president of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, said the Premier ‘believes this is in the best interests of the people’ yet it is clear that the Premier and his Government are arrogantly riding roughshod over public opinion and concern.

“The Minister insists that this is not rushed, and she has referred to a report which was done in a bi-partisan way in 2012, thereby insinuating that the public has had seven years to digest this policy.

“The reality is that the report was not a bi-partisan report, it was a sub-committee report issued by interested stakeholders. There were no public meetings explaining the changes or their impact on the public.

“The government between 2012 and mid 2017 did not believe that the proposal was sensible and therefore did not advance it.

“The new PLP government resurrected this in 2018 and in 2019 held three public meetings to enquire what should be included in the core plan. This supports the assertion that the public engagement is recent and appears rushed.

“The One Bermuda Alliance supports health care reform because 60,000 people spending $700m a year is not sustainable but clearly Bermudians are very concerned about Government’s plan and it must put it on hold until more details such as a true cost and details of all benefits are available.

“Consultation closed yesterday [Dec 8] and I would now like to see an announcement that this plan is being withdrawn pending the release of extensive new details.”

Update 12.25pm: Minister of Health Kim Wilson said, “In August of this year we undertook to conduct a comprehensive public consultation period on the Bermuda Health Plan. In the four months of open, transparent consultation over 50 meetings were held with over 600 participants. I am confident that this period has allowed ample time for the public to provide feedback on what the core insurance plan should include and how to transition to a more efficient health financing system.

“I appreciate that Patients 1st and the Opposition are asking is for the Government to do a U-turn on its decision to adopt a unified model of health financing or a single payer system. Unfortunately, their campaign has deliberately misled the public with numerous misstatements, leading to confusion and fear. As a Government, we have to act in the best interest of the people and we have to make decisions that will benefit the whole of Bermuda not just those with vested interests. We came to power with a mandate given by 58.9% of the electorate on a platform to pursue universal health coverage.

“Bermuda is a small jurisdiction and our health financing system unduly complicated, expensive and unsustainable. We have to create a viable platform to improve access and contain costs. We have to find ways to minimize co-payments, improve access to primary care, and offer benefits to restore people’s health. We are confident that simplifying our fragmented health system will help put us on the road to sustainability. Much work remains to be done on the Bermuda Health Plan and working groups will be set up to consider the public feedback and determine next steps.”

The full Bermuda Health Plan FAQs Update follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (26)

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  1. Whitesand says:

    I call for the UBP/oba to be put on HOLD. Never mind its not on hold its finished.

    • Double S says:

      Excellent response. Full of intellectual insight and valid points. Well done.

    • DF says:

      On such a serious issue – is that the best you can do? SMH

    • sandgrownan says:

      You know how I know you’re an idiot?

    • aceboy says:

      Remember the Pride March? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

      The OBA actually has your back on this one, unless you are a PLP MP as they are all exempt from this mandatory plan. You don’t see it yet (unless as already stated), but you will.

    • Pamplin and Richards need to put back the money they used to travel for Ro Olympics. Nerve.
      The Airport, Same-Sex marriage, America Cup Bermuda… rammed down Bermudians’ throats.
      Pamplin requesting HOLD.
      Nonsense!!
      P.L.P hold the cards!!

      • saud says:

        You have a big problem with equality.
        You’re a bigot.
        Your opinion is irrelevant.

      • Question says:

        Sure, if you guarantee none of your spongers will be going to Tokyo.

      • sandgrownan says:

        The three things you mention actually move Bermuda forward, not backwards. The PLP, stifling dreams and destroying the economy for 18 years.

      • bluenose says:

        Was the economy improving under the OBA? How about the PLP last time and this time?

      • DF says:

        LOL! Is that the best you can do? This is a fundamental change in the way health care is paid for and you spout that drivel?

      • Anbu says:

        Um. Pamplin did that already.

      • bluenose says:

        ‘P.L.P hold the cards!!’ Terrifying isn’t it? Btw it is your beloved PLP that are wasting money with respect to SSM.

    • piss ant says:

      like the plp a bunch of self serving dictators

  2. Politricks says:

    “An Age Concern meeting on the health plan was left with standing room only and about 6,000 people have signed a petition against universal health care.

    Over 7k now.

    However, it appears that the Government will plow through their plans despite how unpopular and hurtful they will be.

    This scheme will not lower costs. All it does is push expenses from the Government onto the already stretched tax paying public.

    It does not address the cost of healthcare rather just shifts responsibility around.

    It is a terrible plan.

  3. Dunn Juice says:

    Your first sentence starts off with the Premier needs to accept..
    Hes only doing what hes told.

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, what is the actual financial proposal being pursued in this healthcare reform and what does the economic study on that proposal say is the likely result for Bermuda and Bermudians?

    There is no point in introducing reforms that Bermuda cannot afford. That would only drive even more businesses out of Bermuda and further shrink the taxpayer base so that those of us who remain must pay more in taxes!

  5. Politricks says:

    “Unfortunately, their campaign has deliberately misled the public with numerous misstatements, leading to confusion and fear.”

    And yet the Minister has failed to highlight even one of these misstatements and/or ‘correct’ them.

    This will not reduce healthcare expenses. The majority (ie private policy holders) will see their coverage reduced and thus will be required to pay out of pocket for the supplemental coverage just to ensure that they retain the same coverage that they have now.

    This will literally create a ‘Two Bermuda’s’ healthcare system in which the politicians and the wealthy are able to retain better coverage than the majority.

    Minister Wilson and the PLP, this initiative is ill thought out and will absolutely reduce the level of coverage for the majority. It will create a massive monopoly and leave many locals out of a job that currently work in the insurance industry.

    This plan is absolutely terrible and does not address the actual costs of healthcare, but as I said above, simply shifts the expenses from the Government to the tax paying public. The only people that are rooting for this scheme appears to be only you and your Governmental colleagues.

    What happened to your promise to ‘listen to the people?’

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “we have seen Philip Butterfield, the chairman of the BermudaFirst advisory group, say that the ‘pursuit of a single-payer approach in the absence of detailed data about the endgame is a recipe for, in our judgment, confusion, discord and unintended consequences”

      Philip Butterfield is the brother of Dr. Ewart Brown and former head of HSBC Bank Bermuda. If he is not supporting the change everyone should be worried.

  6. Politricks says:

    “We came to power with a mandate given by 58.9% of the electorate on a platform to pursue universal health coverage.”

    Also, Minister Wilson I just revisited the 2017 PLP election platform. Nowhere does it state that you will seek universal healthcare coverage.

    Again, this is a terrible, terrible initiative that will hurt the same people (plus more) that it purports to help.

    • sandgrownan says:

      PLP politician caught lying? Shocker.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      We (i.e. the majority of Bermudians) elected a socialist Government. What did you expect? If we still had a railway it would be nationalised by this lot.

  7. Truthhertz says:

    It would be helpful if the Minister actually stated what misstatements have been made by people who oppose this plan. She has made that claim now numerous times, but to date hasn’t been able to articulate what these are and ow has she corrected the so called misinformation.

    This plan will do nothing to reduce healthcare costs as it is not designed to address the main drivers. As a poster correctly asserted above it will simply push the expenses onto the public from the government.

  8. Hold up a minute! says:

    7,000 plus people have signed a petition and the government is going to ignore it! Arrogance or stupidity? With all due respect Minister, I am intelligent enough to read, analyze and make my own decisions. There are serious flaws in this plan that must be addressed! Folks, the health care you currently have will cease to exist. Retirees this might be all you will be entitled to and companies will be under no obligation to provide further coverage and you’ll be paying out of pocket for some medication currently covered by your present health insurance. Even if your company offers you a supplemental insurance it is going to cost you more. Mr. Premier, slow down, let’s get right before we throw the baby out with the bath water.

  9. moonbeam says:

    ‘quote, unquote” — I am opposed to the proposed health plan. Several reasons are :
    The standard of available care inevitably would decline materially due to inflexibility and mediocre management.
    Nothing run by any government can be as efficient, innovative or cost effective as private sector services,
    The relatively small number of presently uninsured persons can be provided for by government separately without placing a crippling over burden on the provision of health care to the remaining 95% of the population,
    Access to health care will inevitably decline to the level of the unsatisfactory standards presently experienced in the UK and the health of the entire population will be worse off than at present.
    It is clear that costing of the proposal has been done back office. Why are the calculations not made public ?
    Somewhere within government there is a concealed agenda on this subject and until it emerges the proposal should be put away on that shelf where all bad proposals end up.

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