An Update on Healthcare Nationalization in the Bahamas

First Published: 2007-08-24

Last year The Nassau Institute commissioned Nadeem Esmail to produce a paper as a review of the government Blue Ribbon Commission Plan for the Nationalization of healthcare for the Bahamas. On August 1st distribution of Nadeem’s 72 page comprehensive study was widely circulated to all major private sectors of the country.

Nadeem’s Report is posted in the Nassau Institute Website. Click here to read the entire report.

In September at the instance of the Institute, a meeting of representatives of private groups was convened, and a steering committee appointed to develop a policy alternative to the government plan. The Coalition website reports on events at National Coalition for Health Care Reform web site.

The government passed legislation in November 14th to legalize the nationalization process. In spite of repeated requests by the Coalition, government has not provided the technical and statistical analysis background for “the plan.”

In February The Chamber of Commerce convened a panel of representatives from the Medical Association, The Insurers, The Hotel Corporation and Mr. Lalta chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission and Nadeem Esmail who gave an outstanding presentation to Members of the Chamber. Click here for Mr. Nadeem’s presentation.

The nationalization process has been on the agenda for years since 1982 when individuals in the various ministries developed “working papers” for government administered health services. It lay dormant for longer than anyone could have hoped.

The Institute started writing on the subject beginning September 2000, Presently there are 51 articles on the issue in the Nassau Institute website. Click here to review them.

The business community is generally opposed to the government agenda, whereas the very influential Religious community comprising the Bahamas Christian Council and others favour nationalization.

The new FNM government has indicated it will continue with some kind of health plan for the country. Details of a plan – if they have one – have not been made available to the Coalition, or the Institute. Hubert Ingraham as leader of the opposition was given a copy of Nadeem’s paper in September 2006.

If it were possible to identify a single issue that would have the most profoundly negative effect on the economic health of the country – it is healthcare services controlled and regulated by the Bahamian government.

This article was originally published by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in their monthly e-newsletter.

Since this article was first published, the Nassau Institute and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation hosted a symposium and one of the featured speakers was Dr. Michael Walker of Canada’s Fraser Institute. Dr. Walker’s topic was Lessons From Global Experience For Bahamian Health Care Reform. Click here to review his Power Point Presentation.

Click here to listen to his presentation.

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