Patients 1st Statement
Pressure group hits back at Burt broadside
David Burt has challenged the pressure group Patients 1st to reveal its identity and meet with him over its campaign against proposed changes to the health insurance system.
Speaking in the motion to adjourn in the House of Assembly on Friday, the Premier called the group “Profits First”.
He told MPs: “How is it possible, that we have had an organisation that has existed for three months, and nobody knows who is running it?”
Mr Burt added: “It’s being run by the insurance companies. And they are not going to show their faces, because they are trying to protect their profits.”
In a response yesterday, the group called the statement “absolutely untrue”, and said it had “never received funding from any insurance company”.
Nor was there any involvement by insurance company representatives, although the statement said it would “welcome them into our discussions”.
Patients 1st added: “We wish to come together with the insurance companies and Government, to arrive at real solutions to improve delivery of healthcare to the underinsured and uninsured, without reducing the quality of care and broad cover that the population of Bermuda has come to expect.”
In his remarks on Friday night, Mr Burt threw down the gauntlet to the group, challenging its leaders to “come to my office” this week. “Tell me when you want to come,” Mr Burt said in the House. “Let’s sit down and have a talk. Show your face.”
Mr Burt said that Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, had reported being contacted by the group in an e-mail asking to meet at the end of March.
He added: “Bring it. Let’s have that chat.”
Patients 1st acknowledged it had “privately and purposely invited consultation with the Minister of Health last week as noted by the Premier for a meeting in March”.
The statement yesterday added: “The purpose of which is to work together on solutions with a representative present from every healthcare dimension — something that the medical community has asked Government for on numerous occasions, and to date have been refused.”
The group came forward last November in opposition to the Government’s draft Bermuda Health Plan 2020.
Patients 1st said yesterday it was a collaboration, without leaders, of more than 12,000 “concerned patients, community groups, private citizens, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractic doctors and allied healthcare workers encompassing all socioeconomic groups”.
•To read the Patients 1st statement in full, click on the PDF link below “Related Media”.
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