Categorized | Health, Local, News, Regional

Government wants bipartisan approach to health care financing

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Dr. Kenny Anthony

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is calling for a bipartisan approach to health care financing saying it is the “greatest gift” politicians could give to St. Lucia.

Speaking during debate on the Millennium Heights Medical Complex Bill, Anthony said parliamentarians should seriously consider establishing a “joint committee of Parliament to look at this issue of health care financing.

“The question is, how are you going to finance the EC$40 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) you need to guarantee persons treatment at our hospitals? Where are you going to get the EC$40 million from? That is the question we have to face.

“How do we bring an end to the embarrassment and humiliation that St. Lucians face on a continuous basis when we have to go and beg Martinique to take care of our people, or these days, as I have just had to do in Cuba, beg Cuba to take care of our St. Lucian patients at reduced cost,” Anthony said adding “when do we bring an end to that issue? “

The Bill piloted by Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations Minister Alvina Reynolds calls for the establishment of a board to direct the affairs of the EC$189 million complex that includes the Owen King EU Hospital, the Mental Wellness Centre and the Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre.

The project is being funded by the European Union and government said it represents the biggest investment ever undertaken by that agency.

Anthony, speaking at the final session of the parliament for this year, said the time has perhaps come to look more closely at the cost of medical services on the island.

He said universal health care must be implemented in order to guarantee every citizen access to a basket of health services, suggesting the joint approach to what he acknowledged as a difficult and long-standing problem.

“You know the greatest gift we can give to the people of Saint Lucia is [to] get together and arrive at a common position on financing health care. If we say we love the people of St. Lucia that is the greatest gift we can give to them.

“If you see the two of us can get together, sit down, look at this issue of health care financing, the people of St. Lucia will have extraordinary confidence, not just in our integrity, not just in the promise that we all care for them, but they can believe in a political system that can work better. We would neutralize the issue and make it a non-issue for the political platforms.”

Anthony said he wanted to “plant a little seed…in all sincerity to the Opposition… (that) talks very glibly of making health care VAT-free.

“Can we therefore agree that we can set up a joint parliamentary group to look at this issue of financing health care so that we can together say to the people of St. Lucia that we have a problem on our hands? We don’t want to fight about it. We know it’s an issue. We now have the institutions to take care of our people, but we but we still have to decide how [we] are going to pay for it.”

Anthony told legislators that he would be writing to the Opposition with a proposal to initiate the process of engagement.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

unnamed33

Dr. Kenny Anthony

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is calling for a bipartisan approach to health care financing saying it is the “greatest gift” politicians could give to St. Lucia.

Speaking during debate on the Millennium Heights Medical Complex Bill, Anthony said parliamentarians should seriously consider establishing a “joint committee of Parliament to look at this issue of health care financing.

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“The question is, how are you going to finance the EC$40 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) you need to guarantee persons treatment at our hospitals? Where are you going to get the EC$40 million from? That is the question we have to face.

“How do we bring an end to the embarrassment and humiliation that St. Lucians face on a continuous basis when we have to go and beg Martinique to take care of our people, or these days, as I have just had to do in Cuba, beg Cuba to take care of our St. Lucian patients at reduced cost,” Anthony said adding “when do we bring an end to that issue? “

The Bill piloted by Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations Minister Alvina Reynolds calls for the establishment of a board to direct the affairs of the EC$189 million complex that includes the Owen King EU Hospital, the Mental Wellness Centre and the Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre.

The project is being funded by the European Union and government said it represents the biggest investment ever undertaken by that agency.

Anthony, speaking at the final session of the parliament for this year, said the time has perhaps come to look more closely at the cost of medical services on the island.

He said universal health care must be implemented in order to guarantee every citizen access to a basket of health services, suggesting the joint approach to what he acknowledged as a difficult and long-standing problem.

“You know the greatest gift we can give to the people of Saint Lucia is [to] get together and arrive at a common position on financing health care. If we say we love the people of St. Lucia that is the greatest gift we can give to them.

“If you see the two of us can get together, sit down, look at this issue of health care financing, the people of St. Lucia will have extraordinary confidence, not just in our integrity, not just in the promise that we all care for them, but they can believe in a political system that can work better. We would neutralize the issue and make it a non-issue for the political platforms.”

Anthony said he wanted to “plant a little seed…in all sincerity to the Opposition… (that) talks very glibly of making health care VAT-free.

“Can we therefore agree that we can set up a joint parliamentary group to look at this issue of financing health care so that we can together say to the people of St. Lucia that we have a problem on our hands? We don’t want to fight about it. We know it’s an issue. We now have the institutions to take care of our people, but we but we still have to decide how [we] are going to pay for it.”

Anthony told legislators that he would be writing to the Opposition with a proposal to initiate the process of engagement.