The National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, has stated that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) policy must be credited to the NDC as one of its flagship programs.
He referred to parliamentary records that showed how the NPP opposed the policy at the time.
“This has been the chorus of the NPP for many years. Here, I am referring to the claim that the national health insurance scheme was introduced by the Kufuor NPP administration. They have been getting away with that lie for many years and it is about time. What are the facts? This policy was mooted and piloted by the NDC Rawlings administration. There is ample evidence of this fact in many media publications and even parliament records.”Sammy Gyamfi
According to him, the policy began before the Kufuor administration in Nkoranza in Bono-Ahafo and Eastern Regions.
He further cited a story dated 26 April 2000 titled, Government Must Accept Useful Minority Suggestions, where Dr. Addo Kufuor admits the program started in the Rawlings administration in 1997.
In the publication, Dr. Addo Kufuor criticized the government for wasting billions of cedis and energy on NHIS. He said the government could have been saved had the government not brushed aside the minority suggestion in 1997.
The Minority then, believed the government should only regulate and monitor every private insurance scheme.
Sammy Gyamfi thus emphasized that the NPP had fought against the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme at its formative stages.
“When we sought to introduce that NHIS policy, the NPP was against it. Can you believe that, they said it was not feasible and prudent for Ghana to have a single national health insurance policy? So, what they advocated for was a Mutual Health Insurance policy. They wanted SSNIT to have their scheme, they wanted worker groups to have their scheme.”Sammy GYamfi
According to him, the opposition to the scheme was led by Dr. Addo Kufuor, a medical doctor and the ranking member for health for the New Patriotic Party, as well as, the party’s spokesperson health at the time.
Citing a story in the papers, dated 27th January, 1999 titled: Addo Kufuor Calls For National Vision. Dr. Addo Kufuor made this speech after Mr. Rawlings had delivered a sessional address.
“Mr Speaker, there is the need for hard work and careful planning rather than self-congratulations. The National Health Insurance Scheme received only an oblique reference in the sessional address. Given the realities on the grounds, implementation of the 3 types of health insurance, i.e. SSNIT contributor’s scheme, family rural-based scheme, and non-profit making urban self-employment scheme as a short-term policy will face difficulties.
“Mr. Speaker, I support the health scheme but doubt its viability as a short-term policy. It should be made a medium to long term policy while the Ministry of Health improves its facility to provide satisfactory services to the people.”Dr. Addo Kufuor
Sammy clarified that under the Mutual Health Insurance Scheme of the Kufuor government, one could not seek medical attention outside their district, and hence the Mill-Mahama administration re-established the National Insurance Health Scheme under the National Health Insurance Scheme 2012, act 852. This according to him, expanded the the scheme, made it universal and returned it to its original plan.
Sammy Gyamfi insisted that the NDC commenced the policy in spite of the opposition.
“We started it, we financed it, we piloted it, and it was when you came into office that you decided to launch a Mutual Health Insurance Policy. So what Kufuor introduced health insurance in 2004, 2005 was a Mutual Health Insurance Scheme.”Sammy Gyamfi
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