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Jackson says Health Minister should apologise to public

Opposition MP Louise Jackson has more questions about Government’s handling of the FutureCare health insurance scheme for seniors.

But she was prevented from asking them in the House of Assembly yesterday.

Mrs Jackson explained that she had some questions for Health Minister Zane DeSilva following his ministerial statement in the House last week, but because the statement was delivered prior to the Motion to Adjourn, the Question Period had already passed and she could not put her questions to him then.

At yesterday’s House sitting, Speaker Stanley Lowe would not allow her to ask her questions, she said.

The Health Minister’s statement was part of an ongoing row between the two parties about the implementation of the programme.

It followed OBA criticism surrounding a letter of apology to FutureCare clients by the Health Insurance Department Director.

The OBA has cited the letter as evidence that Mrs Jackson was right all along in her criticism that the programme was badly administered and poorly communicated to the clients.

And it demanded that the Minister apologise to her for saying she had misinformed the public.

Yesterday Mrs Jackson said that the Minister should be apologising to the public.

She said that the Minister had told the House in December that her research had been poor and that FutureCare clients and the public had been fully informed about co-payments under the programme.

“That’s not true,” Mrs Jackson said. “He’s admitted it in the letter of apology.”

The letter sent to FutureCare clients is dated January 17, and apologises for failing to inform them of a change in the Health Insurance Department’s automated system, going back to April 1 of last year, that abruptly hit FutureCare users with a 25 percent “co-payment” for procedures.

Mrs Jackson is of the view that the Minister should be the one to apologise.

“He should apologise to the public. You make a civil servant write a letter. But I question his ability as a Minister,” she said.

Mrs Jackson’s questions to the Minister included:

“When were you informed of the FutureCare 25 percent co-pay for all procedures performed by outside specialists at the hospital?”

She also wants to know how many seniors were impacted by the lack of information about the co-pay.

Mr Desilva could not be contacted by press time last night.

Louise Jackson

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Published February 11, 2012 at 7:23 am (Updated February 11, 2012 at 7:23 am)

Jackson says Health Minister should apologise to public

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