EDITORIAL: Unhealthy Health Insurance Scheme

For the past fortnight or so, Ghanaians have been treated to worrying reportage about what we think can pass for profligacy of the highest order in a government agency supposed to be dedicated to the health of the average citizen. The story, to state the least, is most disturbing and calls for investigation by the appropriate agencies even though we doubt this would be the case. The manner in which the misuse of people�s contributions is featuring in the establishment could erode the critical confidence Ghanaians must have in its operations. In a situation where the health of the average Ghanaian cannot be guaranteed by existing arrangements, such ostentation can only be considered iniquitous. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), one of the legacies of the past political administration, was thought out as an effective means of bringing health delivery to the doorstep of the average Ghanaian. Without such an intervention, health delivery would continue to elude the average Ghanaian but the misapplication of the funds accruing to the scheme in the manner we are been told, leaves much to be desired. It is interesting to note that the NHIS legacy, as bequeathed by the Kufuor Administration, was the subject of a deliberate distortion by the Mills government when it took over the mantle of leadership of the country. With the change in the political status quo, we would have expected that the operations of the establishment would be enhanced to cover more grounds than in the previous period. Unfortunately, such an expectation appears to be too distant, given the high profile profligacy we are witnessing and the emanating lame defence. It would be recalled that while they condemned the scheme in the campaign season prior to 2009, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) expressed what they described dismay at the lopsided operations of the scheme. They promised a better management of the scheme, perhaps devoid of such offensive ostentation. Coming at the heels of the publications on the misuse of funds at the NHIS is the attempt to gag the staff through a novelty- oath of secrecy of sorts. We are amazed at the emerging attempt which to the best of our knowledge is an admission that the allegations are not mendacious. Otherwise, why would the management think out such an arrangement as a way of keeping out the public-unfriendly expenditure in the NHIS from the attention of the public? Unfortunately for the management, the harder they try, the harder they would fail in their attempts because Ghanaians are more discerning and would definitely know what goes on in the NHIS.