Questions and answers about National Health Insurance

First Published: 2006-09-01

The Nassau Institute Health Insurance Report has been circulated to the public. Some individuals and groups are wondering how they, and the Bahamian economy will be affected should the Blue Ribbon Commission's Plan be implemented.

Some of the statements and questions along with the Institute's responses follow:

Statement

Bahamians should have the best possible healthcare and not be subject to "vested interests or countervailing influences".

NI Response:

This is to say that health care should not be a monopoly of any one provider. Monopolies by definition are excluded from competition in a marketplace. The Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) Plan makes government the monopoly. The result is as predictable as if a non-government entity were to become the monopoly; higher cost for diminishing services.

Statement

Healthcare should be viewed as a "right".

NI Response:

An "individual right" is the freedom to act within one's means; it is not an entitlement to the goods and services provided by others. If "health care" is treated like a commodity that the government has the right to seize and redistribute, it must coerce healthcare professionals to abandon their individual rights in order to fulfill the so-called "rights" of others. When government allocates "rights" it is effectively the abandonment of the fundamental tenets of a free society.

Question

It is in government's interest to promote universal healthcare, but how can we know what are the interests of the people?

NI Response:

Democratic governments are elected to serve the people. It is up to the people to decide whether they want the government to make the decisions about their healthcare, or whether they prefer to choose from a multitude of options in a market with a wide range of services.

Question

Inadequate funding has always been a problem. How would this change?

NI Response:

Funding becomes problematical as the demand increases. Demand increases when any commodity is offered "free". In all socialized "free" healthcare systems rationing of care is the rule because there are limits to the amount in taxation government can collect from the taxpayers.

Question:

What are the effects on the economy when the taxes are increased to pay for Nationalized healthcare?

NI Response

Wealth is generated exclusively in the private sector. Government can spend only what it takes from its citizens. Rising costs of healthcare in an unlimited demand environment can lead to either inflation and/or increasing public debt. The question remains as to how much more taxation the economy can bear without devaluing the Bahamian dollar, or adding to the public debt with additional borrowing.

Question

How reliable will be government management of healthcare?

NI Response:

The reliability of government services is already known. They are costly and inefficient. The Public Corporations are examples. No more need be said.

Question:

"What is government responsible for anyway"?

NI Response

Re healthcare, Government's responsibility is to provide healthcare services to the poor. In addition it must monitor environmental conditions to prevent the spread of disease.

Immigration and particularly illegal immigration are government responsibility. Immigrants able to pay for their own healthcare need not be a burden. Compassion requires government to cover the cost of care for immigrants who cannot pay. Large numbers of illegal immigrants without jobs are a tax burden and the numbers need to be controlled.

Other questions will be answered if sent to info[at sign]nassauinstitute.org or mailed to The Nassau Institute, P.O. Box N 1688, Nassau, The Bahamas.

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