Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 15, 2021 (SKNIS): The Federal Cabinet in St. Kitts and Nevis is establishing a committee to provide advice on the implementation of Universal Health Insurance.
The move is the latest step by the government to introduce a robust insurance programme that would provide quality health insurance to the population. The initiative is a costly venture as estimates place the price tag between $143 million and $181 million.
“Consideration may have to be given to salary deductions from individuals. In other words, how it is going to be funded, what benefits are we going to provide, when will it start—the legislative framework upon which this should stand. Those are the things which will come from a new committee put in place this year to ensure that Universal Health Insurance becomes a reality,” said Honourable Eugene Hamilton, the Minister responsible for National Health Insurance.
The minister’s comments were made at the Prime Minister’s Monthly Press Conference on January 14, 2021, at the NEMA Conference Room. He said that the expectation is for UHI to be implemented shortly after the committee completes its work. The minister reminded citizens that the country and other nations around the world continue to grapple with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has influenced the measured approach being taken by the government.
“We are very cautious, we are careful, we are very deliberate in what we do in implementing Universal Health Insurance,” Honourable Hamilton stated.
The enormity of introducing such a comprehensive and transformative programme was compared to other historical, landmark decisions such as purchasing plantation lands, introducing a Citizenship by Investment Programme, constructing the then Southeast Peninsula Road which is now known as the Kennedy A. Simmonds Highway, and establishing a Social Security Fund.
Minister Hamilton said that these decisions were ahead of their time and have positively impacted the development of the country.
“Universal Health Insurance is in that category,” he expressed while calling on the public to fully support the programme.