Kids free healthcare on minister’s agenda

| 11/06/2019 | 56 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Government will be taking a look at whether it would be possible to provide free healthcare for all children in the Cayman Islands, having accepted a private member’s motion on the issue last week. But despite Health Minister Dwayne Seymour’s claim that his ministry was already looking seriously at this proposal, the premier made it clear that it was unlikely to ever become a reality, as he gave the Legislative Assembly members a basic class in economics and public finances.

Chris Saunders brought the motion, which was self-explanatory and obviously popular, given the soaring coast of health insurance and ongoing complaints of inadequate cover for people working in the private sector and the unemployed.

Seymour told the Legislative Assembly that he had campaigned on this issue and that it was “very near and dear to me”, adding that “caucus hears from me on this often”. He said he had been working with consultants to see if it was possible. 

The minister said that the Economics and Statistics Office estimated that at the end of 2018 there were about 10,800 children under the age of 14 in Cayman. These children are currently covered through different channels, as the law mandates that everyone has health insurance and government provides access to healthcare, though not necessarily for free.

Seymour accepted that the government already spends a significant amount on healthcare for uninsured and under-insured Caymanians, but it was still looking at how all children could be covered at the lowest possible costs. However, providing free healthcare for all children was “ambitious” and it could only be done if an appropriate funding mechanism was in place, he said. 

Although government maintains that the economy is booming, several MLAs said health insurance costs for some families are prohibitively expensive and they had have been approached by their constituents about it, especially by those who had lost their jobs.

Despite Seymour’s commitment that he would get this done during the current administration, Premier Alden McLaughlin warned that healthcare provision is one of the greatest challenges for governments across the world.

The relative size, wealth and economic position made Cayman better placed to come up with solutions for resolving the issue of healthcare provision for all, he said, but with no direct taxation, as well off as Cayman is, government is relatively poor.

McLaughlin said Cayman depended on inward investment and the offshore sector to fund what government paid for. “It is the easiest thing to say that government should do more, but government has to have the means to do it,” he noted.

He said the country needed new investment and new industries and should “not do rash things that discourage investment” so it could continue providing the social support the community has come to expect.

“There is an unfortunate tendency on the opposition benches (to say) that we are doing everything for foreigners,” he said, adding that it was not so easy to bisect the economy between what was for foreigners and what was for locals.

While he said government was happy to consider the motion, it was going to have to consider how to fund such a proposal, not just now but for the long term.

Saunders said he agreed with the premier but he brought the motion because it was the right thing to do, as he was a product of a time when government invested heavily in the Caymanian people. He also accepted that Cayman’s economy was fragile regarding how we raise revenue. But, he said, it was important the politicians worked together to address issues such as healthcare and not allow politics to get in way.

He highlighted some of the challenges ahead surrounding issues of healthcare, such as the retirement of many people at a time of rising health costs. He said he did not expect government to do this overnight but wanted it to try and find a way to do it.

“We have got to start somewhere,” he said about helping vulnerable people in society, saying that finding the will to do it was the first step.

See debate on the issue on CIGTV below:

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Category: Health, Health Insurance

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Everyone without insurance is getting free healthcare right now. All they have to do is ignore the bill, if there is one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The best healthcare kids could receive is pristine environment. START WITH THE DUMP! Every kid living or going to school in the vicinity of the Dump is exposed to its toxicity. HOW HARD TO UNDERSTAND THAT?????

    Kids living in the Cayman Islands should be the healthiest in the world. Nothing can beat sun, sea and fresh air. Why so many sick kids, kids with learning disabilities, kids born with cancer and congenital abnormalities Mr. Seymour?

    As usual everything is backwards here.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to have a referendum for the high price of medical insurance, schools, government salaries, MLA salaries, cost of living?
    Why can’t we have Cambridge or Oxford privilege with free medical, dental and eye care like the UK? If we have to pay taxes we could still keep financial services. We just need to pay low taxes, say 10% of income with 10% capital gain. Let’s put it to a referendum!!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      start with the Dump, the #1 cause of your health issues. No insurance, doctor or medicine would fix your sickcare unless you restore your environment to health conducive state.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    How can CIG consider this when it is currently in breach of its human rights obligations to provide free primary and secondary education to all children regardless of their nationality?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not just nationality, but learning abilities as well. As was indicated by a concerned parent, children with disabilities, some of which easily corrected nowadays, are fell through the cracks.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is lighthouse school which is public and Hope which is private. There are choices.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Special Needs is a very broad spectrum. If Hope Academy and Lighthouse can handle all of these children, then tell me why parents are having to send their children overseas to private schools for special needs children? The Cayman Islands have two options: severe disabled children or mainstream. I’m sorry but you need to educate yourself a little more. I’m one parent looking at overseas options and I talked to another parent who is doing the same thing.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Then you are a parent that wants more for your child. The same can be said of regular children whose parents are looking for overseas options. Cayman is a small country and you cannot expect specialized care for everything. Even in larger countries you cannot get everything for a special needs child unless you are in a larger populated area. The small communities won’t have what you are looking for.

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        • Anonymous says:

          read the article:

          Parents of special needs students in limbo.
          New approvals for tutoring centres required from September.
          https://www.caymancompass.com/2019/06/07/parents-of-special-needs-students-in-limbo/

  5. Al Catraz says:

    After enough sick and disabled kids die in the street from lack of care for expensive medical conditions they should have decided not to get, people will get the message.

    Only get diseases, injuries, or congenital conditions you can afford!

    Children should choose better parents if they don’t want to die from something treatable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you on too many drugs?

    • Anonymous says:

      “…sick and disabled kids die in the street..” what are you talking about?
      I thought The Cayman Islands is the 5th world’s financial center with pristine, health promoting environment!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Its really disheartening to see the negativity being aimed at a policy designed to help families.

    I appreciate the lesson in finance that Cayman does not have direct taxes, but judging by the way the Government is splashing the cash on air miles, opening foreign office and campaigning for port, forgive me for cheering for the return of free healthcare for children. We had it at a time when Cayman’s pot was not overflowing. Now it apparently is.

    As for those of you mocking people with sad circumstances – remember the thing call karma!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you start by looking into WHY the government FORCES people to buy local insurance at INSANE prices for converge that offer LESS than global insurers, basically making the possibility of getting great and competitive insurance, financially unfeasible? I wonder why that is…

      So basically why are you GOVERNMENT blocking people in this BAD and EXPENSIVE coverage?? The best premium healthcare on Island lock you in to life time maximums for insane prices! so your force people to buy garbage insurance.

      Maybe you could start by looking there yes?

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is a difference between sad circumstances and people making poor choices by having too many children. Either because they bore them themselves or married someone with multiple children that they cannot afford. The government should not be responsible for someone who cannot make the right choices.

      Sad circumstances are job losses due to disability or illness or a death of the primary breadwinner or contributor to the family income. But not because you happen to have three to ten children and cannot afford them.

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      • Anony Mouse says:

        And how are any of these choices the fault of the children?

        A child who is sick did not choose their parents or their economic condition. A child who is sick did not choose to be sick, poor or Caymanian. Why would anyone choose to be any of those things?

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        • Anonymous says:

          It’s the parents fault and they should bear the responsibility. These irresponsible adults are ignorant or entitled or convinced that govt should take of them for everything.

          As a hardworking Caymanian I do not feel that my tax dollars should go to any of these lazy ignorant people. It is called survival of the fittest and if those individuals don’t get to survive and die off that is better for Cayman’s gene pool. Rather than codling the weak.

      • Anonymous says:

        Govt. Need to control insurances prices, they simply charge too high fees, they are making millions a year profit, at the expense of the people, i wonder if there are any kick backs involved , why nothing is done about their extra high fees?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Problem is …it is not free.Maybe they will not make a payment directly to a healthcare facility but someone has to pay them.If Government has to pay it then they will have to collect fees/taxes etc to pay for it

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Standards in Public Life Law and District Councils have also been “on the agenda” since 2009

    Don’t let these people fool you

    Anything put on the agenda is only approved if the relevant lobby and donors approve of the plan

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s the problem in Cayman today, the lazy ones wants everything free, and the politicians gives it for votes, nothing is free, everything that Govt. gives to some people free, the working people pays for it through duties/tax, the more that is giving free, the more Govt. put on more duties one way or another and the cost of living goes up..That’s like the guards in the stores, who do you think who is paying for them, not the business owners, its the the people that shop there that pays through the cost of the goods

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Free condoms would be a lot less cost than free health care. Yes there would still be children to cover but how many less if there was free birth control!!!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      2.01pm Obviously you believe that the large amount of children is due to children born here but the truth is that there are probably more that arrive by grant of status ,adoption et cetera than are born .eg I know of a local fellow who married foreign lady some years ago and instantly became father of 7 and grandfather of one. I guess someone in some other country needed those free condoms.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If any children are over 18, they are not automatically dependents, neither are grandchildren. Adoption is a different matter.

        • Anonymous says:

          The law should change that no children can be brought over no matter the age unless they are by blood or formally adopted.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Nonsense. So a caymanian marries another person who has kids and is the primary giver…. they can’t live here? What if said persons kids other parent has died? Your suggestion is deeply flawed.

            • Anonymous says:

              Then formally adopt them which goes through a rigorous process showing that you can financially afford them. If not, consider moving to another country where you can afford the children or find someone else to marry that’s not a burden on the rest of your home country.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some maybe but people here are breeding like iguanas. Mandatory birth control until able to mentally and financially care for their own. That’s the way.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well he didn’t choose well now did he? Besides your example is a one off. That is not the majority of cases where people cannot afford children.

        People who adopt are vetted for financial ability. This set of people should be able to afford any children they adopt.

        People need to think ahead and not blame their circumstances because they did not think things through and then expect someone else to bail them out because of woe is me.

        The government should not be giving handouts by feeding a man a fish today with no way to get their own fish tomorrow. But by teaching the man how to fish. Giving people the skills to take care of themselves. Not becoming dependents on handouts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or your local friend should have realised what he was getting himself into…Unfortunately you can give out free condoms, dispensing common sense a little more difficult.

  11. Anonymous says:

    And we shall call it “CINICO”!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and they will be nationalised and replace the current government scheme which is run by the insurance companies. We will all be insured to the same level as CIG employees, and it will be cheaper for everyone.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Maybe there should be mandatory parenting classes, breastfeeding classes and follow ups on children to ensure that parents are actually taking care of their children.

    Does public school still require the kids to walk around with a doll that cries and poops and pees its diaper so the kids know what it means to be a parent. That way the younger generation will actually think about things long and hard before having children.

    The bottom line is that if you can’t afford to have children then don’t have them. That includes having money for medical care, education, clothing, food and not automatically seeking handouts from the govt because some man couldn’t wrap it up or some woman couldn’t close her legs. Cayman does have the morning after pill but does not allow abortions. Cayman does have free birth control at the women’s clinic. I just don’t understand why this is not utilized more.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @12:43 pm, while I agree that more emphasis needs to be placed on effective birth control and what parenting actually entails, there is no denying the fact that health insurance is insanely expensive here! Regardless if you’re a single parent or just a single person or a family of 4+, it’s crazy! I’m fortunate enough to have my employer pay 100% of my insurance, but if I were to add my 2 kids, even just one of them, I’d be paying over $1200 a month for them! Something needs to be done to bring the costs down, to make it more feasible to have; especially for lower income homes with many children.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To answer your question about the schools with the dolls ,that depends on your choice of career , I agree with you though ,it’s well needed ,I know of a young girl with 2 not even 19 , she don’t work ,baby Daddy don’t work , she shack up by mamas ,,,,,it’s really sad .

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      • Anonymous says:

        And they won’t and don’t wanna work as long as they getting the handout. And if no handout gonna be available then the crime rate goes up cause that’s easier than actually having to be a responsible human.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It should be mandatory for individuals receiving handouts because they cannot afford one child to be on birth control such as the coil.

          Once they are off the handouts they can remove the mandatory birth control. Otherwise the government is going to continuously pay for multiple children with no Hope in sight for them to get out of poverty.

          These individuals should also show that they have enrolled in some educational program which will eventually lead them to get off the handouts and be able to take care of themselves. These individuals should then be followed up over the course of 4 years to see if they stay on track.

          • Adolph Bodden says:

            Well we don’t know before the age of fertility whether they will be ne’er-do-wells or enter the undesirable class.

            So, start with a baseline of mandatory chemical sterilization for all Cayman females of breeding age.

            By working and obtaining other socially-desirable goals, they can earn credit toward a breeding permit allowing them to have one child.

            After that, they go back on chemical fertility control until they have earned their next breeding permit.

            Any Caymanian female who becomes pregnant without a breeding permit shall be subject to arrest and abortion.

            • Anonymous says:

              Even though you are being sarcastic I really like this idea but not just for Caymanians for anyone on island including work permit holders that just come to the island to trap a husband.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This used to be the case and it stopped at some point. It makes sense that it stopped because Cayman has no real taxes to pay for it.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Would this mean that my insurance premium would decrease as I would just have to pay for my wife and I instead for my family?

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    • Jotnar says:

      Yes. Your premium would go down. Of course, your salary would too, since in the absence of a golden money tree the government would have to tax you to pay for it, like any other country running free public healthcare schemes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No, if you go to HSA, they ask if you have insurance and if you do, they make you use it!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you want to go to the HSA unless you really have no options? I would never take my precious children then unless I was extremely desperate. That place doesn’t heal people. It’s just a temporary stop before the graveyard.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Health insurance reform is what we need. The insurers are free to dispute routine charges, make up co-pay break points, denying coverage to sick people (preventing some from leaving jobs) and reinterpreting contracts on the fly – raking it in without any oversight body.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you guys all that dumb? It is not sick insurance that you need, but healthy, pristine environment. Your kids are poisoned in the womb. Yet, you believe that some kind of insurance reform would fix that.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why no one else has ever thought of this. Just make things people really really need “Free”.

    Problem solved. Good job and great leadership.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Yes, “Free”.

    That’s all it takes for good politics these days. Just say: “it should be Free!” because I really really REALLY care, and obviously more than the other persons that don’t think it can be “Free”

    Because that’s how the world works. When people have sad circumstances and the issues are very emotional, then things should always automatically be “Free”.

    What about when the parent can’t pay their bills, obviously the rent, food, water and electricity should be free as well right? Can’t live without food and water, so it should be “Free”.

    It’s not like anyone else has to pay right? because things and services can just be “Free”

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Civil Servants too?

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