PLP and OBA trade words over FutureCare sustainability

As the ruling party insists that FutureCare is financially sustainable, the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance says that key trends indicate otherwise.

A Progressive Labour Party press release criticised an OBA political ad in yesterday’s newspaper as another example of “no ideas and no solutions” and claimed that an OBA Government would increase premiums or reduce benefits provided by the health insurance programme for seniors.

The PLP release noted the OBA’s promise to “make FutureCare financially sustainable — without increasing Bermuda's debt.”

"First off, FutureCare is financially sustainable, but, if they believe it's not how are they going to change FutureCare's financial situation? The only way they can fulfill their pledge is by increasing premiums that our seniors pay or cutting FutureCare benefits,” said Health Minister Zane DeSilva.

"After a lifetime of hard work, our seniors deserve to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. That's what the PLP has delivered. Now, the OBA is telling us that they are going to fundamentally change FutureCare, but, they're not telling us how.

“This is what we've come to expect from the party of no ideas and no solutions — nice sounding platitudes that don't really tell Bermudians what they plan on doing.

"But, the bottom line is this. The code that the OBA is talking about in their advert can only mean either increased premiums or reduced benefits.”

In response, the OBA repeated claims that Government is misleading Bermuda’s seniors.

“The current Government's Health Minister appears to feel the only way to hold onto power is by fear-mongering and misleading Bermuda's seniors,” said Louise Jackson, the OBA’s spokesperson for seniors, in an e-mailed statement.

“The OBA's commitment to Bermuda's seniors is unwavering and the OBA remains dedicated to ensuring that every Bermudian's golden years are the best years for themselves and their families.”

Citing Department of Statistics figures, Mrs Jackson added that the population of seniors is expected to grow to 14,500 by 2030, from 8,313 in 2010.

Moreover, “younger workers — who will shoulder the burden of higher taxes and premiums in the future — are a steadily decreasing proportion of the population; and healthcare cost inflation has been running three to four times the inflation rate, with healthcare costs growing between eight and ten percent a year,” she said.

“In addition, Government has been running a significant budget deficit for the last four years and is budgeting another significant deficit in the current financial year, which has considerably weakened its ability to maintain the seniors subsidy required for FutureCare.

“The combination of these projections and conditions are drawn from today’s realities and point to a future in which sustainability of FutureCare will be under serious pressure.

“As we said in our ad, the OBA will make FutureCare financially sustainable — without increasing Bermuda’s debt — so seniors can continue to enjoy health coverage for years to come.”

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Published Sep 18, 2012 at 12:01 am (Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm)

PLP and OBA trade words over FutureCare sustainability

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