News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – The Minister of Health looks forward to engaging with the Patients First group to consider its proposed solutions towards universal health coverage. Bermuda’s adoption of this World Health Organization goal is vital for the country to achieve equitable healthcare access and Patients First’s support in this endeavor is welcome.
Following the Fiscal Responsibility Panel’s 2019 Report, the Government remains committed to establishing, over a three to five year period, a single payer for Bermuda’s core health insurance package. The Fiscal Responsibility Panel is an independent body, established under the OBA Government, that assesses Bermuda’s fiscal and economic state annually. This year’s report said of the Government’s health reforms:
“The Panel applauds the Government’s initiative to address a very complicated but important fiscal issue. It recognises the challenging task ahead for the Government in seeking to reform a well-established health care financing system that has conditioned the behaviour of employers, citizens and health care providers.
“The objectives being sought appear eminently sensible, and broadly in line with the health financing reforms of other industrial countries faced with the challenges of an ageing population. In particular, it is very difficult to see how meaningful cost containment can be secured without the proposed shift to a “single-payer” model, which can use its monopoly purchasing power to drive down prices.” (Fiscal Responsibility Panel Report 2019, pp.23)
“Further, the Government is encouraged by the American College of Physicians’ (ACP) recent statement supporting a single payer system as a means to achieve universal health coverage.”
The Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, said: “I am thoroughly encouraged by the Fiscal Responsibility Panel’s endorsement of the course of our health reforms. This independent assessment validates the Government’s position that a single payer model will serve Bermuda’s interests best. Likewise, I fully support the recommendations of the American College of Physicians, whose analysis of a health system similar to Bermuda’s is completely applicable locally. Bermuda’s current multi-payer system prevents us from reaching our goals of cost containment and universal health coverage.
“The $723 million dollars Bermuda spends annually on healthcare can and must be spent better to ensure more healthcare dollars are spent on healthcare, rather than administrative duplication and inefficiency.”
The Ministry of Health reminds the public that official information on the Bermuda Health Plan is available at www.gov.bm/healthplan.
An alternative website utilizing the “Bermuda Health Plan” name has been set up by the Patients First group; the public is advised that this web site contains inaccuracies and does not reflect accurate information on the health system or the proposed reforms. The public is encouraged to use official sources to obtain factual information.
The Bermuda Health Plan is the Government’s proposal to reform the way health funds are organized so that everyone can have access to affordable, decent health coverage and health spending can be contained.
The reforms will help lower co-pays, allow persons to keep or chose their doctor and will maintain quality of care.