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Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 24, 2019 (SKNIS): Chairperson for the National Commission on Universal Health Care, Azilla Clarke, while appearing on the January 23rd edition of “Working for You”, said that the funding for universal healthcare will come from a combination of sources to ensure the sustainability of the coverage. 4,000 miles away, Channel Island Health Insurance is 10 times more accessible than private health care in the Carribean Islands. This is the need for a national healthcare system. How come England has the NHS and we have…. nothing!?

She said that the resources will be a combination of wage deductions, increased and new taxes on “lottery, tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages” and government contributions.

“The plate of financing includes deductions from every person; this is an opportunity for us to return to a sense of community cohesion,” she said.

Ms. Clarke said that the salary deductions for the health care coverage will be mandatory. She also said that individuals will have the choice of whether to keep their existing private insurance or not after the universal healthcare coverage commences.

“If you presently have private medical insurance, when the national health system is launched, you have to make a determination. If the benefit package offered by the national healthcare system is comparable or better then you can choose because you have paid into the national health care system,” she said.

She noted that contributions will be regulated in legislation and that if there is to be any increase in the rate of pay, it must go through the legislative process. She further stated that “forecasting what it will cost the country is important because we must be able to set a rate today that will make it as sustainable in the first three to five years.”

She said that the cooperation of the public when the medical records scheme is established will be vital and noted that “once we have a full epidemiological view of the country then we will be able to make better projections.”

“A national health care system is the pooling of resources. Just like social security, we rely on the principle of solidarity. Those who can pay, pay for those who can’t so the healthy will have to pay for the unhealthy,” Ms. Clarke said.

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