As of 10:30 this morning (November 27), close to 1,000 residents had signed the Patients First Bermuda petition calling on the Government to shelve the “rushed” changes proposed healthcare reform plans.
The rallying call to support their cause was sent out last night at a public forum held by Patients First, who believe the proposed changes will ultimately create a government-enforced “monopoly” on healthcare in Bermuda.
As of 11am, the petition had garnered 986 signatures, with a call to reach 1,000.
Henry Dowling, President of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, told the audience gathered at St Paul Centennial Hall, that members of the group met with the Premier, David Burt two weeks ago, to air their concerns as physicians.
“He believes this is in the best interests of the people — so the people need to speak and let him know they do not believe this is in their best interests,” said Dr Dowling.
“We know that any one thing having all the power is a dangerous system to have, and I don’t care who it is,” he added.
Panelists included Stephen Kenny, a paediatrician and economist, Janie Brown, a dentist and Jamie Burgess, an optometrist.
The deadline for public consultation on the proposed changes is December 8.
Dr Dowling also stated that healthcare reform plans failed to address the $730 million spent annually for a population of an estimated 60,000 people.
“This system does not fix that. All it does is shifts who pays for it,” he said.
Dr Kelly questioned the Minister’s suggestion earlier this year that the proposed plan could be delivered at a cost of $514 per month for adults.
Under the new plan, approved under the Health Insurance Amendment Act in the Lower House in May, mandates a $330 million annual lump sum payment by the Government to the Bermuda Hospitals Board.
“Our opposition is that we think it’s bad for patients,” said Dr Kelly.
Despite talks with the Premier, Dr Dowling added: “You need to listen to us. We represent the soldiers on the ground. You have to just listen to us before you get the whole war lost. That’s all we are saying here.”
The petition can be found online at www.change.org.