Healthcare changes need support of hard data
Proposed changes to the healthcare system in a bid to cut its massive costs without proper information would be a disaster, the head of a think-tank has warned.
Philip Butterfield, the chairman of the BermudaFirst advisory group, said healthcare at present was “not sustainable”.
But he added: “The pursuit of a single-payer approach in the absence of detailed data about the endgame is a recipe for, in our judgment, confusion, discord and unintended consequences, and I feel that it is going to fracture our community.
“This needs to be avoided at all cost. It is important that we not retreat to tribalism, the issue is far too important.”
He added that the Government should recruit international experts to help make the necessary changes to healthcare.
Mr Butterfield said: “It is the Government’s largest expenditure. BermudaFirst supports a holistic approach to this critical issue and believes that it is necessary to obtain external, globally recognised expertise to assist us in developing a multi-faceted solution to this challenge.”
Mr Butterfield was speaking at an Association of Bermuda International Companies lunch last week.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, who has announced a proposed move to a single-payer healthcare system, said she supported the use of overseas experts to develop changes.
She added: “I’m happy to remind the public that the pursuit of the single-payer option, or a unified health financing system, for a core benefits plan followed extensive considerations by local and international experts ...”
Ms Wilson said that the health finance options were developed by a bipartisan task force made up of insurers, employers, healthcare providers, an overseas actuarial firm and Marc Roberts, the professor of political economy and health policy emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, who prepared a 100-page report.
She added that Professor Roberts had assisted government in more than 30 countries over his career and had written seven books and a string of articles on healthcare reform, including Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity.
Ms Wilson said: “Following these detailed considerations, the Government decided to adopt the unified model as the most efficient for our small jurisdiction.
“Following the current public consultation period, working groups will be established to consider the feedback and develop recommendations; and we plan to further engage local and international expertise at that time.”
Doctors have launched pressure group Patients First Bermuda which claimed the government’s draft Bermuda Health Plan 2020 would lead to more underinsured and uninsured residents and could force medical practices to close.
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