Insurers will be given say in drafting universal healthcare plans, senators told
Insurers will be given a say in the drafting of universal healthcare in Bermuda, the Senate heard yesterday.
Arianna Hodgson, the junior labour, health and finance minister, was responding to queries from independent senator John Wight on the Bermuda Health Strategy 2022-27.
Mr Wight declared his interests in the debate as the chief executive officer of insurer BF&M.
He told the Senate there had been “a notable absence of any representation from private insurers” in the steering committee examining universal healthcare.
He noted that insurers were “our largest funders of healthcare financing in Bermuda and arguably, I would say, the most knowledgeable in this area”.
Affordable universal healthcare was among top promises in the Progressive Labour Party’s platform for the 2020 General Election.
Ms Hodgson said private insurers would be “one of the key working groups that looks at health financing — we have not forgotten them”.
Mr Wight said universal healthcare had shown success in countries such as Canada and the UK, but that they were expensive programmes to create and maintain.
“With government finances stretched as they are currently in Bermuda, where does the Government see funding for the creation and maintenance of universal healthcare coming from?”
Ms Hodgson said it would be “a long haul” and it was too early to give funding details.
Robin Tucker, the Opposition spokeswoman for health, asked about the level of success seen from the sugar tax, which the PLP introduced in 2018 to promote healthier lifestyles.
Ms Hodgson said she would have to seek figures showing the tax had yielded results.
“I personally have been discouraged from buying high-sugar drinks due to the tax,” she added.