Health is a human right, says minister

| 05/04/2018 | 81 Comments
Cayman News Service

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour talks with A&E clinical head Elizabeth McLaughlin

(CNS): Health Minister Dwayne Seymour has said that “health is a human right and nobody should have to choose between good health and other life necessities”. In a statement to mark World Health Day, the minister said that everybody in Cayman should have access to the best healthcare available. “Neither should anyone face financial hardships to access the health services that they need,” he added. But the minister said nothing about how he plans to make that a reality, as he urged the public to make the most of free health screenings from the HSA over the next week.

Although the law mandates that everyone in the Cayman Islands have health insurance and that all employers are required to pay half of their workers’ insurance cover, hundreds of people who are in casual work, self-employed or unemployed remain without insurance. Many others have far from adequate health cover, undermining the goal of universal access to healthcare for all, as many people simply cannot afford to go to the doctor or pay for the treatment and medicines they need.

During the election campaign last year the PPM, and in particular Premier Alden McLaughlin, pointed to a pressing need to review the current health insurance system in Cayman, which almost everyone recognises is failing. On numerous occasions since, Alden McLaughlin has criticised the existing system, as have other politicians.

Talk of a national or single payer system has also increased, whereby government would use its existing insurance company, CINICO, which currently covers civil servants, indigent and elderly Caymanians as well as those refused cover by the private sector.

But so far the health minister has made no announcements about his overall plans or policy ideas to address the multiple shortcomings and problems with the system. The only announcement that has been made since he took up the health portfolio in May last year has been the opening of a public consultation and survey on the possibility of introducing a specific basic health care plan designed purely for the over 65’s.

The proposal has received considerable criticism because it means hiving off some 4,000 elderly people into a smaller pool, all of whom are much more likely to need healthcare and who are living on a fixed minimum income. Creating a small group of less healthy people means the cost of premiums is likely to still be beyond the reach of many of them.

In his first major speech as health minister during the budget debate last November, Seymour raised his own concerns about the fact that health cover for children is not free. But there have been no policy solutions to address that issue coming from the ministry since.

Nevertheless, in the address celebrating the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO) Seymour claimed that the principle of “health coverage for everyone, everywhere, without discrimination” is very close to his heart.

This year, the focus of World Health Day is ‘Universal Health Coverage’ and the minister said that all countries approach universal healthcare in different ways and there is no “one size fits all” solution, though he did not say what he thought would fit Cayman.

However, he said he recognised that healthcare treatments can be expensive, so it is important that people do everything possible to take care of their health, as he pointed to free screenings next week for diabetes and hypertension.

“The earlier we can detect conditions, the sooner we can treat them. Early diagnosis can make a huge difference in the success of treating illnesses, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death,” he said, as he urged people to take advantage of the free tests.

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams Rodriguez said universal health coverage does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis. He said people should take proactive measures to consider the status of their basic wellness and seek early intervention, which can result in easing the health burden of the country.

He said the free screenings being offered by the Health Service Authority over the next week are a part of the continued initiatives of the department to emphasise the benefits of healthy lifestyles and early detection of issues such as diabetes, hypertension and depression, which will enable appropriate treatment to prevent complications and ensure quality of life.

These free community health screenings will be available in all district health centres on Grand Cayman, including the general practice clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, and Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac, from 9 to 13 April between 9am and 1pm. Residents on Little Cayman can call the clinic to make an appointment.

Read the minister’s full message on CNS Local Life

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Category: Health, health and safety, Health Insurance

Comments (81)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can we exclude the obese, the drunks and the junkies please? These groups take up a disproportionate amount of health resources.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People think insulin is a food story when it is really a story of sunlight vs man-made light. Healthcare needs to be focused on restoring the human condition back to its natural state.
    The body has an amazing innate ability to heal itself if we would get out of its way.
    We were designed to walk, run, climb and build – not sit.
    We were designed to eat organic food, not sugar, GMOs or chemical laden substances that cause alters flows of electrons and protons in our proteins to alter our ability to function in nature.
    We were designed to be outside in the Sun to absorb a full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, not live inside 99+% of the time under an artificial light bathing us in non-native electromagnetic radiation on a cell phone or in front of a TV or computer.
    We were designed to breathe clean air…….not polluted air.
    We were designed to drink local rainwater not chemical, pesticide and heavy metal contaminated water.
    To get back to health, eliminate the stuff you are doing wrong. Get outside in the Sun and exercise to power your two brain pacemakers. Change your diet, get your spine adjusted by the sun on it, and drink more water and start thinking positively.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sweden is the only country in the world to recognize electro-hyper senspitivity,EHS, as a functional impairment, Swedish EHS sufferers — about 3 percent of the population, or some 250,000 people, according to government statistics — are entitled to similar rights and social services as those given to people who are blind or deaf. Today, local governments will pay to have the home of someone diagnosed with EHS electronically “sanitized,” if necessary, through the installation of metal shielding. https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-02/disconnected

  3. Anonymous says:

    The headline should say that COMPETENT, EFFECTIVE healthcare is a human right. Minister, consider engaging Dr. Shetty and his team of doctors and other staff to manage and operate the HSA and we might get the kind of medical services that we all deserve. You took him to meet the Chinese to showcase the excellent services which Health City Cayman offers and rightfully so. Did you give that opportunity to management or other staff from the HSA? If not, why not? Put out the necessary funds to help the HSA offer similar service and we will be indebted to you! Give them some of the millions being paid to consultants which the auditors do not consider to be value for money! Investments to procure competent, efficient medical health to ALL citizens will be value for funds spent!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Health is also a responsibility. My Caymanian friend tells me about her “obeast” friends.
    It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that food arriving here has not been genetically modified and it is the responsibility of people to eat a healthy diet.
    Don’t be eating fast food every day and then complaining that you are sick.
    Not only are you unwell, you also push up everyone’s health insurance premiums.

    Help is on the way.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather pay in taxes for the indigent and others that are incapable of paying for adequate healthcare than have the government decide what I can and cannot eat.
      You are out of your mind if want everyone to give up such a basic freedom to the angels in government. Where does it end? If you want the government to decide who gets to eat what, let them decide it for the people who live on the government welfare system. Something tells me you feel that would not be fair.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well, you obviously failed comprehension. What part of “genetically modified” did you not understand.
        When you read, please do so slowly and carefully.
        Your comments will make much more sense.
        I am looking forward to reading your future comments because you write very, very well.
        Be blessed.

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        • Anonymous says:

          GMO free is so hip and often misleading. Think food is expensive now? If there were no GMO foods, crop yields would likely drop by 50%. Farming costs would soar as you’d need far more land to maintain yield.

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          • Just Commentin' says:

            Really? 50%? Wow. You must be the author of a sensational new agriculture study because most reliable existing studies report that a 25% yield is big. A 2014 study by two Germans scientists of all GMO crops found that on average, GM technology adoption increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. That study also found that yield and profit gains were higher in developing countries, and not in technologically advanced countries where agricultural science helps insure maximal yields. Care to share your research?

        • Anonymous says:

          GMO isn’t scary, try reading the studies. You may need to read slowly to comprehend.

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          • Anonymous says:

            $27 tomatoes and or starvation is scarier. Your high brow GMO food would be rationed if not for GMO food. Comprehend that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    is that why the ministers enacted section 12 of the hsa law to protect doctors and deny patients compensation in 2004? after public outcry, it was repealed in 2015???

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Massively deregulate. It’s the only way to lower costs. Insurance should only be for catastrophes. Government paid heath benefits to the public is not insurance, its call welfare. Everything else is either lip service or kicking the bankrupt system down the road.

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    • Just Commentin' says:

      So…”Government paid heath benefits to the public is not insurance, its call welfare.” Methinks that just about the entire country of Canada would say that opinion is rubbish. Their heath care is free except for prescription drugs and glasses. That being said, I doubt that the entirety of Canada is a welfare state.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And I guess that’s why government engaged lawyers to chase after unpaid medical from the many people who have genuine health issues but can’t afford the huge hospital bills. Ironic.

    Not everyone has health insurance, and many think they do, only to find out when they most need it that the employers stopped paying the premium and pocketed the money.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    CLUE: You are not entitled to someone’s else labor just because you’re alive.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One day it is your turn.
      You will be happy to be entitled to your fellow humans labor.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is exactly what Jesus taught us. It you are sick or needy, tough, people like 4.13 want to buy shiny things.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Actually no, it’s a good idea to provide great heath care because it’s in everyone’s interest, as well as great insurance, and yes, even provide health care to those *who cannot provide for themselves* (operative word here being *CANNOT*. But we do so out of our decision to do so, not by some mandate formed by bureaucrats at gun point!! Health care is YOUR damn responsibility, not your neighbors! Health care is NOT a right that is owed to you by your neighbors.

        And you certainly don’t achieve great health care by destroying wealth you blistering morons. As the world around us has taught us for decades now through dismal failed countries and economies. It amazing to see still in the face of utter failures, misery and millions dead, that morons still believe in this utopian heaven-on earth-free shit for everyone. Unfuckingreal!

        The best of the best example of the socialist health care is Canada, where people can wait up to 6 months to see a professional issued to them by some government bureaucrat. Recently within the last 15 years, Canada has allowed citizens to get private insurance (only for the very few that can afford it because everyone is taxed into oblivion naturally) so they can get medical care in the United States. So the health care is so great there, that when ever someone can afford to NOT use it, they take the first opportunity to do so. And they have 30 million people to cough up taxes into this system. And you want to pay for lung transplants our of the cayman economy you utter babbling imbeciles????

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        • Anonymous says:

          Health spending per capita is far cheaper with a socialised health care system. So you argument is nonsense.

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        • Just Commentin' says:

          Of course, in your lop-sided babbling rant, you fail to mention the middle-ground: In top performing countries, like France (mostly very low-cost to free health care) and the Netherlands (far far lower cost than here), patients can email their family doctor to ask questions or book same-day appointments.
          France: the WHO found that France provided the “close to best overall health care” in the world. This coupled with the fact that approximately 77% of health expenditures are covered by government funded agencies makes France a good model of doing it well.
          Additionally, you fail to differentiate between elective surgery (low priority) and Priority 1 (emergency care) surgery. While elective and non-time-critical surgery can and does take longer in Canada than in many countries, Priority 1 patient wait times are very fast and Priority 2 times not excessive by global standards; even for most non-critical surgeries over 90% of patients are seen within target times for their condition and surgery. Another study in Canada found that when allowed a referral to the USA for treatment, most Canadians decline and prefer to wait it out in Canada. “Wealth” is a relative term bandied about by many foolish babblers. If a country has a horrid wealth gap and the less fortunate do not have equal and affordable access to good quality health care, that country is not truly wealthy, it is merely overly-populated by greedy lovers of mammon.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hearth, lung, liver transplants FREE FOR EVERYONE! Viva la revolucion !! Utopia is finnaly ours! Why didn’t the world think of this before?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    What about food and water? Is that a human right? Let water authority know that. So basically you have a “right” to someone else’s labour and service? So if a doctors decides he doesn’t want to work for free, he/she should be arrested? Or should we arrest hospitals executives that don’t offer free services? How does that work exactly.

    Because at the end of the day SOMEONE HAS TO PAY!!! THEN WHO??

    Should we force people to be organ donors as well if health is a right?

    How about offering up your house, food and bank account to human rights? Lead by example.

    Some people run their lives on stupid emotions, even more pathetic when a country runs that way.

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    • Debbie does Dullards says:

      4 05……..applause!!!!!!!
      Could not have said that better myself……..Maggie Thatcher said socialism is ok until we run out of other peoples money!!!!
      Cuba and Jamaica are s…….. Holes because of communist ideas. Failures and losers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly right. It’s easy to offer up some else’s cash. That’s why the politicians do it all the time to pander to votes since they are largely incompetent. But one thing is for certain, you won’t see any of them offering THEIR cash for their socialist causes.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Health care and health insurance should not be confused. Health care is focused on the health of the individuals. Health insurance is concerned with the profits of the insurance company. As long as we consider health insurance a solution we will not be able to have health care as a right.

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  12. Alden john says:

    Health is human right fact from over 800 years what is new ?!!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. Doctor Strangelove says:

    The problem is that healthcare is too damn expensive! It is expensive because the insurance companies (which are unnecessary) are very greedy. The doctors and hospitals are also greedy. The pharmaceutical companies are just as bad or worse! Everything connected to healthcare is expensive. Why? Because the politicians are using free (or subsidised) healthcare to get votes. Well, why not? It costs them nothing, because the money comes from the government funds, which actually belongs to the people. Solution? Get rid of the insurance companies. Have government funded doctors and hospitals, and get quality pharmaceuticals from the companies with the best price.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure why it is called Healthcare when in reality, when one goes to doctor/hospital it is about sickcare.

    Right to be covered by “sick” insurance is not a human right. It has nothing to do with health.

    Health starts with healthy environment, plenty of sun, clean water and air. Food and exercise are the least important when it comes to maintaining good health.

    The so called science got it all wrong. But tables are turning.

    Healthcare in Cayman should start healthy environment, which is far from being healthy. The Dump would continue poisoning all and everything for many years to come.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Health, environment connected?… Duh I don’t think so said JJ.

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  16. SSM345 says:

    This dude needs to fix his facial expressions when in conversation with others; he always looks completely bewildered and lost. Oh wait he is always bewildered and lost seeing as he has F’all experience to be the Minister of Health in the first place. Jon-Jon you can’t fix our health system so stop pretending and regurgitating sound bytes from other sources and previous years; do us all a favor, sit down and shut up.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Minister for health if everyone health comes first listen too this story that happened just recently in the cayman islands. A social worker told a young lady that she is working in a bank in cayman cinico can not pay for all of her little baby hand surgery that were referred by a surgeon at the george towm hospital for the mother to go to miami with the baby for the surgery to be done. The mother told the social worker she did not work in a bank in her life she work at a Cafe in cayman the social worker told the lady her insurance will have to pay for part of the cost for the baby hand surgery the mother told the social worker that her insurance do not cover for such medical procedure the mother said that the social worker were not co-operative with what she had to say the lady said that she could not get the message across to the social worker so she had no other choice but too swallow her hurt. Mr. minister for health is that the kind of hostile, inhumane and hoggish social worker’s that the people in the cayman islands have too endure on a daily basis in the cayman islands. Mr. minister for health you really need too question this matter for this mother at the Needs Assessment Unit reqarding this little child surgery for the sake of the little child.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Want a healthy Cayman ? Start in the LA where 80% of members are obese.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    8:08pm please stop judging people illness leave that too god. Give a little caymanian kindness.

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  20. Fair Play says:

    The ideal world as far as health care in Cayman is concerned,as defined by Mr Seymour, already exists, but only if you are an elected MLA, a Minister, or a civil servant. Government has no real incentive to improve the lot of anyone else as they are primarily concerned with preserving their own benefits.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    So why the government kept there employees in the old glass house and other buildings knowing they were filled with mold and posed a health hazzard??? ?

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  22. Andrew says:

    The UK NHS is being forced to introduce a new additional hypothecated tax to keep paying for its universal system, on top of the 10% national insurance contribution. Having universal healthcare is the right aspiration. However, implementing it without a proper plan to fund it going forward with an ageing population and ever higher innovation costs is a recipe for national bankruptcy… as the UK are finding…

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    • Anonymous says:

      We will need about 300,000 more expats in order to dilute the cost.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry, the locusts are on the way, called in by Pharoah McLaughlin himself.

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        • Jotnar. says:

          Some locust – pay the taxes that pay for the social spending, doesn’t consume any of the free resource available for Caymanians such as education or NWA, and incidentally reduces the health insurance costs by introducing a disproportionately large number of younger people into the working population.

  23. East End Resident says:

    The current system doesn’t work. I pay for a health insurance policy at over $4000 kyd a year and by the end of March, most of the pitiful limits under my policy had already been reached. Now I need an MRI and have no way of paying the $2000 they ask for it. No money left on my diagnostics or consultant fees for the rest of the year. Only 4 general doctor visits left. So even with a ‘good’ policy, I cannot access healthcare for the next 9 months unless it’s as an inpatient. And I can’t become an inpatient and get the treatment I need because I cannot afford the tests or to see the consultant. Yes, bring on a free-at-point-of-use healthcare system that we all pay for according to earnings. Those who earn more can afford to pay more and provide cover for all those who do not earn. Cut out the insurance companies who are there to make a massive profit, not there to provide a service to sick people. “health is a human right and nobody should have to choose between good health and other life necessities” Absolutely it is, so why are so many human rights being disregarded here in Cayman by failing to provide basic healthcare to people who need it but cannot afford to pay.
    If ever there was a need for a taxation on wages, this is it.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    wow…great cut and paste job john-john…..did tara help you with that statement?

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  25. Anonymous says:

    I smoke, I drink, I am obese. I have bad health. Who can I sue to enforce my Human Rights John John?

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  26. Anonymous says:

    He said that? then Canover should get another 40 years for stealing health!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Jon Jon please just STFU and get your Chief Officer Aherd to fix DEH so that our garbage can be collected since you are serious about health risks

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    • Anonymous says:

      You men the CO that scrutinized a telephone bill, but glanced over the million dollar contract?! That CO?! Ha, good luck with that!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You people talk a lot, but would love to see what you would do in Mr. Seymour’s shoes.

      He didn’t ask for the portfolio he has! But he took it and is TRYING to do something with it.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    The only group benefiting from the system that we have in place today are the insurance companies. The reality is that we need to move quickly towards a single payer system. Lives are being lost because of the existing system and we need to move quickly to address the problem.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Free screenings but what if you are then notified of an illness, will you get free treatment? It’s kind of the chicken before the egg dr. Rodriquez especially for the uninsured. Ironically health care was free for school children when the island was a mosquitoe infested island. Now couple of years later and boosting billions of hedge fund portfolios, new roads and 7 storey condominiums, the elderly ones who built this country are the ones that are suffering yet we have these same hedge fund managers/directors that are milking this country without one penny towards healthcare.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Nothing but more noise with no real plans. I wish he would refrain from speaking out on health or any other issue because he doesn’t have a flipping clue or plan . So embarrassing,

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  31. Anonymous says:

    You want to do something that would really nice/appropriate/helpful/Cayman kind.???
    The hospital could get together and have a group of properties available for when patients get taken off a cruise ship and families need to stay here with them. The patient gets admitted to the hospital but the family have to scramble to try and find somewhere to stay. It would be nice if there was just somewhere they were able to be put for a night or so while there loved ones where being sorted out. God knows as soon as they get to hospital they are hounded for a credit card. God forbid that it be advertised or suggested to people the importance of having travel insurance. Most people have no idea and then and emergency occurs. I know people should be more wary and prepared but it’s no always so. It’s frustrating for people and all they should have to worry about is there loved one.
    Doesn’t have to be a luxury sweet at the Kimpton, just something In a safe close proximity to the hospitals for convenience.
    Am I off base here??

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who should be required to cover the various costs associated with this service? Also, do you know anywhere that offers this type of service? I have traveled overseas with family members during emergencies and this type of thing was never offered.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Charity starts at home, and whilst your sentiments are admirable, Caymanians and residents worry increasingly about healthcare cost, and want that cured first. It is a ridiculous cost and I would argue in many cases more expensive that the US. If we all paid 25% of premiums we currently paid into a central fund, accessed drugs from more affordable places ( ie not US), paid doctors a good salary and allow them to do 25% private work for those that want private consulting, then I suspect this could all be covered. Essentially it would be self funding, reduce costs and provide a safety net for those who cannot afford it. Of course it needs a proper study…but I also think it won’t happen due to “interests”

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    • Anonymous says:

      I had to check that this wasn’t an April Fool comment. If you can book a cruise at $1,000s per person, where the cruise company wants to know your insurance or sell you theirs, I think you can manage… (but sorry for the inconvenience). Would be a wild waste of resources when there are local children missing out on decent healthcare.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I want some of what you’re smoking. Get real!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are kidding right? They don’t pay hospital, ambulance etc. then you think they will pay for housing. They will move in and promise to get money sent to them, then skip like they do now. The families can check in to the hotels or condos. Please do not encourage the government to waste any more of our money.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was the luxury sweet that did it for me.
      I was thinking Terry’s Moonlight or Fry’s.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Can’t recoup any money but hey….free health screenings for everyone! Come one come all….it’s free. Our favorite thing.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Has this guy done anything since he’s been in office. I’ve seen nothing change/ improve/ anything since he’s taken office. He comes around ,asks some questions,relevant or not, and meanders his way out. He is being paid for what now?… do something already.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    How bout a health plan for those who abuse the health system. The plan involves getting bare bones to no coverage if you are a freeloader on the system. Those who choose not to be employed can leave it to soaking in the sea for soothing what ailes them. Maybe the sea should charge them for that.

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  35. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    I pay a huge amount for my and my spouse’s health care, but I completely agree with Mister Dwayne.

    However………… we have to be really careful how we pay for this. We already have one “scheme” that doesn’t really work, and the health care mandate doesn’t really work.

    I think we need to expand CINICO to include everyone who is allowed to be here legally. Yes, and then we need to make it truly pay for things that those who are not rich can afford.

    REAL and true health care. For everyone.

    It’s good to have dreams.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have been saying this for years, but this and previous governments does not have the will to make Cinico a real national insurance company. Don’t understand why they don’t at least try to set up a committee to look at it. If so please no representation from the current insurance cartel though. Still a happy Friday however, got my garbage picked up for the first time from before Easter.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Honorable Seymour and the rest of the Unity team

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Seymour is in a very good position when it comes to keeping the population healthy. He is the Minister responsible for both Health and the department of environment. One of the reason why in the past we have had very few outbreaks of communicable diseases compared to some of our neighbors in the region is because we have always had a reasonable reliable garbage collection system. For whatever reason that appears to have changed. Garbage piled up on the road side for two weeks or more with chickens, iguanas and rats rummaging through, persons walking by, children playing nearby is a health hazard as well as aesthetically horrible. We still have the landfill spewing poison in the sir but we really cannot lay that at the Minister’s feet. But now that is his responsibility as well. Don’t know whether he asked for the portfolio or not but that is besides the point.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Our country is so blessed to have such a fprward thinking and helpful government in place. Thank uou Mr Premier

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