Lee: We can no longer tax salaries to fund health care

GREAT BAY—Minister of VSA Emil Lee in his argument supporting national health insurance, has said that taxing health care from people’s income is not sustainable. The minister wants a more sustainable method in funding health care and providing health coverage for everyone living on the island including self-employed persons. “It’s important that the public realizes that the way things are continuing right now, cannot continue. We need to structure our health care sector from all aspects,” Minister Lee told the media yesterday at the Council of Ministers press briefing. “I think that we need to look at some form of a broader taxation. For example, Aruba has a “health tax” in the form of turnover tax. This would mean that all the tourists that visit the island contribute financially to our healthcare system as well,” said Minister Lee.
Minister Lee also lamented that currently, government eventually pays for health care services, especially for those with pre-existing conditions who are unable to get insurance. “When people have severe health issues it becomes a financial burden to the government eventually. So that financial burden that the government absorbs, eventually of course comes back to the people in the forms of other taxes, because ultimately government has to pay for those services,” the minister concluded.
The minister insists that there must be adjustments in the administration of health care and redirect those funds to actual health care. “We spend a lot of money on administrative costs. For example SZV manages I think actually five different funds under their umbrella. So what that means they have five different policy conditions that they need to administrate, five different accounting systems. So in essence they are maintaining multiple administrative services for the different funds, each with their different costs. So if we can synchronize those funds into one uniformed fund, it would obviously make operational expenses less. Which means that more money would be able to spend in health care,” the minister explained.
Speaking about the discussion to build consensus on the need for a National Health Insurance, Minister Lee said it has been challenging. “It is a time consuming process…trying to build consensus,” the minister said. “Globally the discussion about health care (universal health coverage) is a very difficult discussion. It is a topic that very often divides countries.”

Source: TODAY http://today.sx/news/lee-can-no-longer-tax-salaries-fund-health-care/