Information available to the New Statesman indicates that John Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress administration are set to increase the National Health Insurance Levy from 2.5% to 3.5% before the end of this year. This will raise VAT to 16%, from the already existing 15%.

The bill proposing the increase in the levy has been presented to parliament by government, with approval scheduled to take place before the end of this year.

Sources at the NHIS tell the New Statesman that this 40% increment has been necessitated because the National Health Insurance Scheme, since 2010 and under the NDC administration, has been running at loss.

One of the reasons attributed for the NHIS running at a loss is because of huge administrative costs being incurred by the scheme, largely due to the huge increase in staff numbers, particularly at the headquarters in Accra.

The NHIS is regarded to have collapsed under the NDC with international organizations such as Oxfam, for example, claiming that only one out of every five Ghanaians is benefitting from the NHIS, since the NDC took over.

According to the Oxfam report, ?The majority of the people continue to pay out of pocket for their health care in the parallel cash and carry health system, or resort to unqualified drug peddlers and home treatment due to lack of funds.?

Managers of the NHIS have stated that some 22 million Ghanaians are currently subscribers to the Scheme. However, Oxfam, in its 2011 report says only 18% of Ghanaians benefit from the NHIS.

Also, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Dr. Nsiah Asare has accused the NDC of supervising the gradual collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme in the Ashanti Region.

According to him, the new capitation introduced by the managers of the scheme is rapidly bringing back the cash and carry system.

He also noted that there is an increasing number of people who are refusing to renew their National Health Insurance cards because ?people don?t see the reason to renew their cards because if you have a health insurance card and you would have to pay for health care, what is the need for renewal?

Source The Statesman Ghana

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