Majority Chief Whip Annor Dompreh has said the Minority caucus should admit that despite the challenges bedeviling the economy, government has made some gains under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The Majority’s comments follow accusations by the Minority caucus that government since 2018, has taken GHS4 billion from the NHIS fund.
Responding to the allegations by Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Majority Chief Whip acknowledged that there has been some general delay in the release of funding to some state institutions including the NHIA.
However, despite the delay, the Akufo-Addo-led government, he said, has made some significant gains under the scheme.
He noted: “Fact be told many, many governments that have come and gone, NHIA has always been a matter of public concern and the delay in the release of funding to this institution has average 12 months…when we came to power we tried to reduce the delay.
“I can tell you but not for the average two months’ delay in processing, we’re averagely five months delayed in the release of the funding but there’s a broader picture and the broader picture is the discretionary powers exercised by the Minister of Finance and it is not peculiar to this minister, Seth Tekper exercised that powers...”
The Majority Chief Whip indicated that government had added some ailments to be covered under the NHIS including childhood cancer.
“Our colleagues should also be fair to admit that regardless of the difficulties, we’ve recorded some very [significant] positives. Some positives, for instance: for the first time, childhood cancer has been added onto the bill to be taken care of by NHIA.
“Apart from childhood cancer, sickle cell and breast cancer, which for a long time have not been part... So they should be a bit considerate in their criticism,” the Majority Chief Whip stated.
He continued that: “So if somebody reduces a delay from 12 months to 5 months on the average and then some ailments that were not part before are being added…childhood cancer, sickle cell and breast cancer, have all been added to the National Health Insurance.”
He also disclosed that under the current Akufo-Addo-led government, not only additional ailments have been added to the scheme but also review for the price of medication is done thrice instead of the yearly review in the past.
“You cannot come and be accusing government and using strong expressions that the government is syphoning money. I think the ranking member should know better. He’s my good friend. To say that government is syphoning money is the worst comment anybody can say about this government,” he said.
“It is no longer 7 months’ delay period. It’s now 5 months, and additional ailments have been added to the bill. Apart from that, there is also a regular review of the price of medication. I’m told more than a decade ago; it was done once in a year. We have increased it to three times. The review under our regime is done three times in a year. That is also a significant position,” the Majority Chief Whip stressed.
He added: “So we concede that there’s a problem, we concede but it just didn’t start from us, but where there’s a significant attempt to increase the number of ailments on the bill, you can’t just come and rubbish everything and say that we’re syphoning money to Jubilee House.”