May Day March focuses on healthcare
Dozens of people took part in a Bermuda Trade Union Congress march for workers' rights with a focus on affordable, accessible healthcare yesterday.
The BTUC recognised International Workers' Day in the May Day march through Hamilton, starting at Victoria Park.
BTUC president Jason Hayward said May Day recognised the achievements, fights and struggles of workers across the world.
He continued: “Accessible and affordable healthcare in Bermuda is a concern. It is a theme because we simply do not have accessible and affordable healthcare in Bermuda.
“Brothers and sisters — our end game is universal healthcare coverage for all. Healthcare should be deemed to be a human right. Healthcare should not be viewed as a commodity.”
The BTUC said the cost of Bermuda's healthcare was alarming to all workers and their families, and implored all stakeholders to commit to finding solutions to Bermuda's healthcare crisis.
Mr Hayward said the Government should ensure that it had a proper health plan with appropriate regulation that sets reasonable healthcare costs for providers.
He said: “Providers need to ensure that they provide quality care and we also need our insurers to come on board. The premiums that Bermudians pay are simply unaffordable and so as a community we have to commit to work together to ensure that we reduce the healthcare costs in this country.”
Mr Hayward said that the BTUC was advocating for a sustainable and improved healthcare system and for all stakeholders to work towards universal coverage in Bermuda, so that all residents have access to basic health insurance coverage, that healthcare coverage contributions are affordable and that all residents have access to healthcare services.
The Progressive Labour Party joined the BTUC in recognising International Workers' Day with David Burt in attendance as well as his Cabinet.
The Premier said: “The matter that is being brought before us is an important one. Healthcare is something that needs to be right and this government is committed to getting us to the place where we can afford healthcare.”
Health minister Kim Wilson described the theme as “the most fundamental goal of my ministry and of our national health plan”.
She added: “In the past week, I've met with over 120 health system partners and stakeholders to update them on the progress made and the next steps under the health plan.
“I stressed to everyone that affordable and accessible healthcare for all is the number one priority for me and we will bring about the reforms needed to make this happen.
“I want everyone to have access to preventive healthcare to avoid problems and resolve issues before they escalate.”