The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) are demanding for the immediate release funds to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to save it from collapse.
According to the group, despite the upfront payment of the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) by consumers in the country, the government, represented by the Minister of Finance, has failed to release the money to the Scheme to pay their service providers.
Another concern raised by the group had to do with the introduction of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act 2017 (Act 947), which put some restrictions and the amount of money to be released to the Scheme.
“We are deeply concerned at the potentially collapsed trend of the NHIS as a result of the delay in releases coupled with the drastic decrease in the releases and the capping of the fund. Government has no excuse whatsoever to delay payment for such a long period except to say that government is hoarding the money for reasons best known to them”, the group noted at a press conference on Friday, February 28, 2020, in Parliament which was addressed by the Ranking Member for the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh.
For instance, the group intimated that in 2017, the NHIL collected an amount of GH₵2,233,912,183 out of which GH₵1,814,537,436 was allocated to the Scheme and the capped amount was GH₵419,374,747.
Furthermore, in 2019, the NHI Levy collected, they noted, was GH₵2,381,014,749 with the allocated amount totaling GH₵1,692,678,294 while the amount capped recorded was GH₵688,336,455.
Additionally, in 2020, the budgeted NHI Levy, the group averred is GH₵2,582,257,802, with GH₵2,191,615,926 expected to be allocated to the Scheme while the amount to be capped is GH₵390,638,876.
“The beneficiaries of NHIS and service providers are handicapped today because of this capping law. Capping is negatively affecting payment of claims and causing an untold hardship to the service providers”, the NDC group through Mr. Akandoh cautioned.
They averred that because of the challenges confronting the Scheme are enormous, almost all key stakeholders in the NHIS are financially bleeding and threatening to withdraw their services, whilst others have already withdrawn their services.
The Chamber of Pharmacy which provides pharmaceutical products and other medical consumables to health care providers under the NHIS have, for instance, withdrawn their services, and indicated that any health facility owing them for more than three months could no longer enjoy their services unless payment guarantees were provided to them.
Some facilities under the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) that provide services to the NHIS have been disconnected from power as a result of non-payment of their bills which largely had to do with the failure of the Scheme to pay them.
“We request government to respect the NHIS Act 852, Section 52(1) which states that “the minister responsible for finance shall within 30 days after the collection of the levy caused the levy to be directly paid into the fund and furnished the minister responsible for health and the authority with evidence of the payment”. Section 52(2) of Act 852 also provides that “the minister responsible for Finance shall present to Parliament every six months, a report on payment of levies into the NHIS Fund”. SSNIT should also make prompt release of 2.5% as part of workers contributions to NHIS. All monies due the service providers in the form of claims should be paid immediately in accordance with Act 852”, noted the group.