Opposition calls for single pay healthcare

| 02/11/2017 | 25 Comments

(CNS): Both Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller and opposition MLA Chris Saunders have called for a universal healthcare system for Cayman as a way of dealing with the mounting challenges and costs of healthcare provision. During the budget debate Wednesday, Miller pointed to statistics in CIMA’s 2016 annual report that indicates the local health insurance sector collected more than $245 million in premiums from the public and paid out less than $125 million in claims, ending the year with profits exceeding $51 million from healthcare payments, while government and CINICO — ultimately the public purse — picks up the slack for people the private sector will not cover.

During his response to the government’s budget and statements last week, Miller said that healthcare was in a mess. He said the “managerial incompetence and inadequacies at the ministerial level and the Health Services Authority” needed to be addressed, funded and eliminated, but government had not made the necessary provision, nor did it appear to be implementing recommendations made by the auditor general in this budget.

“Neither the budget documents nor the three speeches mention any of the recommendations made by the auditor general in the report, all of which were endorsed and supported by the Public Accounts Committee, and we anxiously await the government minute response, which is past due,” he said, adding that the opposition welcomed the review of CINICO but it was time to go to a single payer system.

Pointing to the figures in the CIMA report and the profits made by the sector, he said that “the health insurance providers, in spite of their weeping and wailing, are not losing money and the premiums collected are not small”.

He raised more concerns about the cash allocated to cover the health services budget for the next two years and suggested it was unrealistic, given the expenses incurred already in this financial period. He suggested some allocations appear to have been “adjusted to produce a surplus, rather than reflect the true cost that should be budgeted”.

By way of one example, he said medical care for indigent people has increased by just $2 in 2018, compared to the original budget for 2017, while there is no increase in 2019. “Given the lack of opportunities for elderly Caymanians to get employed through provisions in this budget cycle, it is a pretty safe bet that the number of Caymanians certified as indigent for healthcare will likely increase during this two-year budget cycle.”

Saunders, who was the second person to respond in the budget debate, echoed Miller’s sentiment about the need for some type of single national insurance system to deal with health. Reflecting on anecdotes and his own experiences of problems people face when they get sick getting the cover they need, he said the whole country needed to settle the question over whether or not healthcare is a right or a benefit.

He pointed out that an average person can pay into a private sector health policy all their working lives but minute they retire at 65, when need it most, they will have no insurance and will need to turn to CINICO when most vulnerable.

“We have allowed the private sector to cherry pick, make all the profit when a person is young and healthy and then leave the taxpayers of this country to bear the burden when the person most needs healthcare in later life,” Saunders said, adding that it was time for government to begin looking at universal healthcare.

He said he had worked for large companies throughout his career because “I’m fat”, and small firms could not cover the cost of his healthcare. He noted that small businesses also struggle to pay the premiums when they rise as employees get sick. Whether people liked it or not, he said, government had to look at the way it is approaching health care.

Recounting his own near death experience as a result of what he said was a misdiagnosis at the George Town hospital, he said that he had been hard on staff at the HSA during the recent Public Accounts Committee hearing because when accountants get it wrong people go bankrupt, when lawyers do people go to jail, but when doctors do people die.

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Category: Government Finance, Health, Health Insurance, Politics

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You people need to unplug from the US media and get a more global knowledge base. Why is Cuba always the measuring stickstuck for any socialist movement? Do all of thw cns intellects here realize America directly manipulated the world economy against Cuba? What about finland and it’s universal healthcare? Or Denmark providing free education and a stipend to those attending college? Or the average $15 copay to see a doctor? Just because you were taught capitalism is better doesn’t make it 100% true. Greed is too unchecked amongst these health insurers. The only issue with this government is the nepotism that rampant in every dept. When we solve that issue we will have competent people who can deal with this situation intelligently because the talent is here to do it

  2. Anonymous says:

    You can’t make something free and make it work. But DAMN its fun watching you try.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah Perfect! CINICO and 4 hours in line for EVERYONE! Force this on people watch what happens to your private sector. You think the pension exodus is going to be bad? This will turn you into Jamaica overnight. What a babbling ignorant Moron!! Even countries like Canada moved away from this, you can now have private insurance in Canada because it was a disaster. People waiting up to 6 months to see a doctor and anyone with cash went to the US for healthcare taking even more money out of the system! Look at the UK, look at Obamacare it is tanking and premium are increasing by up to 150%! It’s a disaster!

    Whenever you add a cretin politician and government as part of a social program, you an always expect it will be bankrupted and will bring misery to those it purports to *help*.

    Why is this a fact? because (*and get this through you head because it just a cold hard fact*):

    1- No matter what a politicians says, they don’t care about you as much as they do about themselves and their interest

    2- Because of this fact, the policy they create will be tainted by this FACT

    3- Most politicians never mad it in the private sector because they couldn’t, if they could they would be there making money!

    4- Because of this most politicians don’t understand how the economy works and the ingredient it requires to flourish.

    5- Politicians are intellectually lazy, if they were great thinker you would be able to read their books and works!, as a result you can always bet that the policy they come up with are shallow, poorly thought about and *always* wrapped in feel-good emotions for people to swallow the shit policy. And because they are lazy and will not tackle the tough issue genuinely because it hard, they will divide the public instead making bad guys and good guys and sanctimoniously elect themselves as the moral authority on the subject, vilifying those bad insurance companies so they can sell you this policy sculpted to make themselves look good.

    If you doubt *any of this*, I suggested you re-read the article.

    A good politician does not vilify, divide and accuse (btw who is the great accuser?). Instead will work diligently with the resources he has, usually quietly without grandstanding because they are busy actually doing something. And you will often see a good politician thanking others for helping. A good politician will realize that the revenue pool and a talent pool IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR and will seek to work with those resources to find solutions. NOT vilify it, penalize it and the people in it.

    many politicians know this tactic, this is a *create dependency on government*, thus creating poverty as these individuals lose the ability and will to provide for themselves and keep the dependent votes as a result.

    You can clearly see this effect in just about all the inner cities of America. Who do the poor vote for? The politicians promising more from the government, what is the result over the decades? More and increasingly spreading poverty.

    See Joseph Stalin’s comment on this


    • A when de right time come! says:

      babbling ignorant Moron huh? ya na gonna cease wid dem insult on MLA Chrs Saunders e?. Well hear this, him is elected, not selected, he is our champion, not yours. It na matter if ya like him or not a fe him the MLA and you well since ya HAnonymous me na know how to call you. Scene 1.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m in favor of socialized healthcare and for that matter socialized food, both are essential to live. In fact, we should depend on the government for our housing also. Our angels in government can manage our lives much better than we can, so we should put them in charge of our daily needs. Plus it will give me more time to wait on a job that I actually want to do instead of a job I have to do to survive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry for the down vote, It took me a bit to get the sarcasm 😉 You never some some people..(Thumbs up)

  5. Narcisso Clarke says:

    Yes to be quite frank Workpermits are threatening more than that now. it is in fact threatening Caymanians very existence now too! Infact we should have universal heathcare coverage and increase workpermit fees to pay for it. Tek Wood johnny come lately!

    • Anonymous says:

      You and Ezzard belong together, caveman economics at best, gross stupidity at worst.

    • Anonymous says:

      Expats are already paying through the nose for it…WP fees, import taxes, stamp duty, license fees, charity donations. How about you get off your a$$ and do something for yourselves for a change.

  6. Debbie does Dullards says:

    2 12
    Every country that has socialized medicine is a failure and a mess. Obamacare is a mess and not sustainable. Socialism is only good until you run out of other peoples money. So why not move to Cuba or South America. Oh. Failures? I see.
    Cayman is in the same boat then with socialized everything.

    • anonymous says:

      “Every country that has socialized medicine is a failure and a mess.” Friend, you’ve just written off, for a start, most of Europe, and Canada. Clearly you need to study this issue a tad more and stop believing the Wall Street propaganda machine.

  7. PD says:

    This is the correct system for Cayman to go as well because the private companies are just taking the best then send anyone else to us the taxpayers. Just get off it, make the deal and have a standardized system. Really the pensions should also be under one umbrella also, just like a social security. You could get the best performing plan right now, make a deal and have it run with monies in at the monetary authority. Makes one wonder if there is not a plan to keep it this way – one way for the haves and another way for the have not’s? Wake up because one day you will be old and need help but those ones you thought would be your friend will not know you anymore. Then you will be here with the rest of us saying “I did not think this could happen to me”.

    Remember – nobody loves you when you are down and out my friend.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Everyone knows the problem. Id like to hear some specifics from Ezzard and Co. about how to fix it.

  9. Slacker says:

    I agree with Ezzard and Chris? Pinch me.

    But yes, it is absolutely the one and only way to go. The number of under and uninsured is way greater than official statistics would suggest (and yes, I know this for a fact).

  10. Anon says:

    Diogenes, is that an acronym for something?

    • Diogenes says:

      The name of my favorite Greek Philosopher
      Diogenes of Sinope

      Interesting character to say the least

      Diogenes of Cayman

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sweet, who doesn’t love free stuff.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Miller/ Saunders have a good talk with a UK person where this type of health care exists. It is also in trouble and patients face long wait times for specialists, etc. If you are injured/dying it may work OK.
    I am not saying that it is all bad, but by itself it does not appear to solve the issues. Maybe a solution is to look for a way to reward persons who maintain their health with lower premiums.

    • Anonymous says:

      Radical de-regulation is the only way to permanently fix health care. Stop requiring a 10 year degree for about 95% of the common care that doctors currently have a stranglehold over and start to introduce a long list of specialty medical professions that only require a 2 year degree or even 4 year degree. Take most medicine from behind the counter and put it on the shelf.

    • anonymous says:

      That’s why everyone is free to buy private coverage (in case you want your corns treated real quick!). I paid 3% of my gross salary for unlimited health care, including prescriptions.Dear readers, compare that to what you are currently paying. “In trouble”? Yes, they need to spend more on it, maybe rather than giving financial aid to the world, including despotic regimes, but don’t be fooled into believing the NHS is facing ruination. If you swallow that cock and bull line, boy, have I got a big bridge over the Thames to sell you!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Only matter of time before the vote panderers turn to the old and tried tactics of socialism of using public tax dollars to pay for THEIR incompetence and empower the very people who created this mess!

    Tell you what, why don’t all of YOU go without a salary until you fix this mess since you’re so selfless and noble, instead of putting your damn responsibilities on the backs of the working individuals and people trying to make it with their small businesses? a Single payer (everyone pays into the same health care system) Universal health care ran by the bunch of economics morons will be a bigger mess than you already have!

    You can solve this mess now, and you want to compound this cluster f*ck and force everyone to jump into the same mess you can’t f*ing solve???? WTF is wrong with you?!

  14. Diogenes says:

    Here come the comments about the evil of socialism and government intrusion into the Healthcare system. Then the comments about how this is a ridiculous idea and that It would never work, yet almost every modern nation today has it in one form or another.

    Except of course the gun toting, freedom wielding, world police force to the north


    • Anonymous says:

      This seems like a reasonable end goal, but the first step has to be opening up CINICO to the public and showing that they can handle the increased business. As noted in prior articles, there is a desire for the government to start that process and it was listed in the PPM manifesto.

      As usual, those in opposition tell us its possible to tear down and rebuild in four years without consequences. It might have gotten them elected but it certainly would be disastrous to actually do what they think can be completed with just words.

    • anonymous says:

      The eight (to date) thumbs down on a measure that, as the poster stated, and factually, “every modern day nation has in one form or another” hardly surprises me. Money is the root of all evil, in this instance, and for their own gain, certain shady characters both here and in the U.S. championing an unsupervised capitalist system that oversees millions of Americans living shorter lives – often in pain.They say Americans are basically thick ……….. maybe there’s some truth to it, the poor sods. I’d use the term gullible, myself. But it’s still “the greatest country on earth”, apparently. Can anyone out there make rhyme nor reason out of any of it?


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