A ranking member on the Health Committee of Parliament is accusing government of paying lip service to the promise of resuscitating the sinking National Health Insurance Scheme.
Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem said the one month arrears paid by government out of the 12 months debt owed service providers under the policy is not enough to revive a scheme the government said was in coma.
The scheme is reeling under a debt of Ȼ1.2 billion which has come about as a result of non-payment of arrears for 12 months.
The health of scheme was a major campaign issue with the then opposition NPP accusing the Mahama led government of running down the policy and promising to revive it once it wins the election.
Four months into office the Nana Akufo-Addo led government promised to pay all the arrears owed the service providers under the scheme.
The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia was the first to make the promise during the 100-days townhall programme organised by the Multimedia Group.
The Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu then followed with an assurance that the money was going to be paid in full within a period of seven days.
He gave the assurance shortly after a meeting with the service providers in the Ashanti Region in April 19, 2017.
More than a week after the promise, government has only managed to pay one month, out of the 12 months of arrears owed the providers.
This has angered the service providers with some of them threatening to withhold services until they have been paid their outstanding debts.
Speaking to the Member of Parliament for Binduri, who is also on the Health Committee of Parliament, representing minority interest, Dr Kuganab-Lem said government has shown bad faith to the health providers.
“It [NHIS] has reached critical point. At my constituency, provision of health services is at a standstill,” he stated.
“We were told health insurance is in coma,” he added and wondered how a government seeking to resuscitate an ailing policy will do so with one month payment of arrears out of 12 months.
He said government should have prioritized the policy by paying at least three months of the outstanding debt in April, pay another three months in July and finish with the rest.
“If we don’t have health we are dead as a nation,” he warned, adding, “we can’t play hanky panky with the policy.”