BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The march towards the implementation of Universal Health Insurance in St. Kitts and Nevis has picked up pace with the announcement of Cabinet’s approval of the Green Paper, which gives the green light for public consultations to begin.
The Green Paper outlines a variety of ideas and policy proposals on how the Universal Health Insurance Coverage Plan, commonly referred to as National Health Insurance (NHI), can function. The preliminary document also invites feedback from interested organizations, groups and individuals.
Chair of the National Health Insurance Commission, Azilla Clarke, noted that public consultations are expected to begin in early November. The consultations will take the form of town hall meetings, private meetings, and other interactive forums. The committee will also utilize social media and other online platforms to garner as many opinions as possible.
Minister of Health, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said that the government is assiduously driving this process, as it is an essential part of the government’s prosperity agenda.
“With this significant step, we are giving you – the people – the power to customize and control your healthcare experience,” he stated. “With this significant step, your caring Team Unity Government is including you – the people – in this decision-making process that will alter and empower your lives.”
Hamilton urged all citizens and residents, who will benefit from NHI, to embrace the process that will help to “close the gap on health disparities, particularly by helping the poor in our federation access care on a timely basis.”
“I therefore, heartily encourage you, all of you, to participate in the consultations that will be held nationwide,” the Minister of Health stated, adding that the National Health Insurance Commission looks forward to explaining and discussing pertinent matters relating to the implementation of Universal Health Insurance.
Inputs made during the public consultations on the Green Paper will inform the way forward for the White Paper, which is to set out the final policy details of the Universal Health Insurance Coverage Plan.
Minister Hamilton said he expects the White Paper will be available to everyone by the end of 2018.