Who is representing the consumer in this NHI debate?

Noelle Khalila Nicolls Surviving Dialysis 0 Comments

As The Bahamas embarks on the implementation of national health insurance I wonder if I am the only one feeling clueless. I’d really like to know who is representing the consumer’s interest in this NHI debate.

I feel somewhat ashamed to admit that as a consumer I have no idea what the hell is going on in this NHI debate. I’m ashamed because I am a pretty educated person who keeps up with current affairs but I have no idea what is going on. I know I don’t trust one word that comes out of Bradley Roberts’ mouth, so when I see his name next to an NHI headline, I don’t read the article. The same goes for any NHI stories that have a whiff of a political angle. I am probably shooting myself in the foot by doing so, but I refuse to get spun around by the madness of political propaganda.

I have a selfish interest when it comes to NHI. I have no health insurance: not because I can’t afford it and not because I don’t want it. My insurer Generali booted me off my plan when I switched jobs (should be illegal). They would not reinsure me because I had a pre-existing condition: an unfortunate case of a rare kidney disease, despite being young and otherwise healthy. So I don’t have health insurance because no Bahamian insurer will insure me. And the gatekeepers have to give me permission to seek insurance outside the country. In other words, on the private insurance market in The Bahamas, I am screwed for life. Needless to say, I do not think highly of insurance companies. I see them as a necessary evil.

In fairness, the little I know is that private insurers do not oppose mandatory health insurance. They don’t event oppose insuring people with pre-existing conditions in the context of NHI. One insurer told me the reason they don’t currently insure people with pre-existing conditions is because the insurance pool is too small. With mandatory health insurance it will widen the pool, allowing private insurers to offer more options to consumers, including those with pre-existing conditions. That being said, I still have no idea what the material impact will be on consumers from NHI. What does it really all mean?

Given my thoughts on private insurers, imagine how I feel about government bureaucracies. As a consumer I am swimming between the devil and the deep blue sea trying to discern what the hell my position is on NHI.

I wish all the talking heads on NHI would stop for a minute to think about the people who this scheme is supposed to benefit. I wish they would get us involved in the discussion so we could understand what the hell is going on. I refuse to take them at their word. Yes, it is a sad thing that public trust is so corroded. I need a greater understanding before I believe anything the Government or the BIA has to say.

It might be presumptuous of me to believe so, but I am willing to bet if I don’t know what’s going on there are thousands of other Bahamian consumers who are also clueless. And none of us, I am sure, trust the talking heads to represent our interests.

All I want for Christmas is to know how NHI is going to affect and benefit me as a consumer and what kind of NHI plan I should support. Santa, I’m counting on you!

Sincerely,

Noelle Nicolls

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