Wage deductions, increased new taxes to sustain Universal Healthcare

    Chairperson of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for Universal Health Care, Azilla Clarke says new categories will be added to health acts.
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    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Universal Healthcare funding will be provided by a combination of wage deductions and increased and new taxes on the lottery, tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages, according to Chairperson for the National Commission on Universal Health Care, Azilla Clarke.

    She pointed out Universal Healthcare funding will come from this combination of sources to ensure the sustainability of the coverage.

    “The plate of financing includes deductions from every person; this is an opportunity for us to return to a sense of community cohesion,” said Ms. Clarke. “Salary deductions for the health care coverage will be mandatory. Individuals will have the choice of whether to keep their existing private insurance or not after the universal healthcare coverage commences.

    “If you presently have private medical insurance, when the national health system is launched, you have to make a determination. If the benefit package offered by the national healthcare system is comparable or better you can choose the national health care system.”

    Ms. Clarke noted that contributions will be regulated in legislation. If there is to be any increase in the rate of pay, it must go through the legislative process.

    “Forecasting what it will cost the country is important because we must be able to set a rate today that will make it as sustainable in the first three to five years,” Ms. Clarke explained.
    “The cooperation of the public when the medical records scheme is established will be vital. Once we have a full epidemiological view of the country we will be able to make better projections.”

    “A national health care system is the pooling of resources. Just like social security, we rely on the principle of solidarity. Those who can pay, pay for those who can’t so the healthy will have to pay for the unhealthy,” concluded Ms. Clarke.

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