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BPSU critical over lack of talks on health insurance hikes

Can we talk? Armell Thomas, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union (File photograph)

Government has been criticised for failing to consult with other stakeholders before introducing hikes to health insurance premiums.

Increases to the standard premium rate were passed in the House of Assembly last Friday.

But the Bermuda Public Services Union has claimed that other parties should have been consulted before the legislation was drafted.

Armell Thomas, the president of the BPSU, said the union sympathised with Government’s need to increase revenues to pay for healthcare.

But he added that there was “the requirement for proper consultation with community stakeholders” on the issue.

Mr Thomas said: “The BPSU steadfastly supports the fundamental right that all residents have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

“In order to do this, the BPSU recognises that the Government must have adequate funding.

“The BPSU acknowledges that the Government is faced with many challenges due to the pandemic and are forced to make some very difficult decisions as a result.

“The BPSU would have appreciated the opportunity to have some dialogue on these increases before they are implemented.

“Our current situation has highlighted more than ever before the need for comprehensive healthcare reform. This has been stressed in the last four reports produced by the Fiscal Responsibility Panel and is a major priority of the current Government’s mandate.”

Mr Thomas pointed out that the hikes came “when many workers and retirees find themselves grappling with the seemingly unending economic ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

He added: “Going forward, it is imperative that there be social dialogue with a tripartite approach that includes input from Government, the unions, and the private sector.

“Together, we have a shared responsibility to contribute to an economic recovery that is human-centred, sustainable and resilient.”

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Published September 17, 2021 at 7:48 am (Updated September 17, 2021 at 7:48 am)

BPSU critical over lack of talks on health insurance hikes

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