A health systems expert, Dr Nathan J. Blanchet, has stated that the tax system used in financing Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is very innovative and one of the reasons other countries want to learn from Ghana’s experience.
Using the tax system to finance health insurance, he said, had enabled far greater resources for health coverage than the mutual health organisations that preceded the NHIS.
He also commended Ghana for exhibiting the political will to continually improve the NHIS over time.
Dr Blanchet said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic after he had presented a paper titled, “Building on Community-based Health Insurance to Expand National Coverage: The Case of Ghana”, at the third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research held in Cape Town, South Africa from September 29 to October 3, 2014.
He said the continued reliance on tax financing by Ghana’s NHIS was a better practice that could be emulated by other countries struggling to implement their national health insurance.
Dr Blanchet is also Senior Programme Officer at Results for Development Institute (R4D) based in Washington, DC.
The R4D is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to unlock solutions to tough development challenges that prevent people in low and middle-income countries from realising their full potential.
According to him, the tax mechanism in healthcare financing was a reasonably fair way of providing the healthcare needs of people.
However, he said, since there were never enough resources in any country to cover all possible illnesses and treatments, it would be prudent in the near future for Ghana to look at what diseases and illnesses that health insurance could cover to best meet Ghanaians’ health needs in a financially sustainable way.
He called for an open dialogue between the government and stakeholders in health to look at what needed to be covered under the NHIS to make it more relevant to all.
At R4D, Dr Blanchet focuses on the design and implementation of national health insurance in South Africa and Ghana, the integration of disease-specific financing into broader health financing systems, and the role of primary health care in efforts to achieve universal health coverage.
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