Health Minister Kim Wilson maintains that four months of public consultation on the Bermuda Health Plan and “over 50 meetings with over 600 participants”, was “ample time” to provide feedback on “what the core insurance plan should include”.
Responding to her parliamentary counterpart, the Minister said the Government will forge ahead “to transition to a more efficient health financing system”.
Shadow Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin issued a statement on Monday, calling on the Premier to put the Government universal health care plans on hold “until more details are available”.
“The Premier needs to accept that Bermudians are deeply worried about universal health care plans,” she said.
She also noted that at least 6,000 people have signed a petition against universal health care.
The Opposition MP also echoed concerns raised by Dr Henry Dowling, President of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, who said: “It is clear that the Premier and his Government are arrogantly riding roughshod over public opinion and concern.”
In a follow up statement, the Minister said: “I appreciate that Patients 1st and the Opposition are asking is for the Government to do a U-turn on its decision to adopt a unified model of health financing or a single payer system.
“Unfortunately, their campaign has deliberately misled the public with numerous misstatements, leading to confusion and fear.
“As a Government, we have to act in the best interest of the people and we have to make decisions that will benefit the whole of Bermuda not just those with vested interests,” said Ms Wilson.
“We came to power with a mandate given by 58.9 percent of the electorate on a platform to pursue universal health coverage.
“Bermuda is a small jurisdiction and our health financing system unduly complicated, expensive and unsustainable,” she added.
“We have to create a viable platform to improve access and contain costs. We have to find ways to minimize co-payments, improve access to primary care, and offer benefits to restore people’s health.”
Moving forward, she said: “We are confident that simplifying our fragmented health system will help put us on the road to sustainability.
“Much work remains to be done on the Bermuda Health Plan and working groups will be set up to consider the public feedback and determine next steps.”