Cyprus Mail

Insurers say Gesy health scheme doomed to fail

Nicosia general hospital

THE association of insurance companies (Saek) warned on Friday that populism was harmful to public health and raised a number of questions doubting the success of the national health scheme (Gesy).

The group, that would like to see a multi-payer health care system involving private insurers instead of the single-payer system the government wants for the Gesy, said in an announcement that instead of “those discussing politics” giving away money they do not have and promises that will not be kept, they should “answer to the challenges of the health sector reform”.

Saek said that it insists on a public dialogue on the real questions that will determine the success of Gesy, “in spite of the morbid climate imposed on the business and insurance community, despite the creation of imaginary enemies to serve political interests and the attempt to exclude the opposite view”.

The group said it wants to know whether the new legal framework for the Gesy will achieve financial and administrative autonomy of state hospitals, and wants to see the medical protocols and the cost of medical services, as well as the wages of doctors and staff.

“How will public hospitals that will simply be renamed ‘semi-governmental’, be able to control the cost and upgrade of the quality demanded by the people? How will they be free from the problems the public sector consistently manifests in our country?”

Saek also questioned who will oversee the system that will manage billions so as not to repeat the problems experienced in state hospitals today, and how is it justified for the Health Insurance Organisation to be “a provider, supervisor and regulator at the same time?”.

It also asked as to why should citizens be held prisoners of an “outdated monopoly system” instead of having a choice.

Lastly, it wants to know why everyone cares for the rights of state hospitals and doctors, but no one cares for the rights of 235,000 people who have medical insurance.

“Whoever cannot or will not answer these vital questions on the viability of the Gesy, is resorting to the easy blame game on ‘organised interests’,” Saek said.

The “demonisation”, it said, does not honour politicians that resort to this practice, and downgrades public dialogue.

The group was referring to health minister Giorgos Pamboridis who has repeatedly said that a number of organised groups, including insurance companies, are behind the delays in the implementation of the Gesy.

Attempts are underway to implement an outdated scheme, Saek said, “which everyone wishes publicly to succeed, while everyone admits privately that it will fail”.

It argues that the proposed health scheme will send many people to unemployment, and will undermine future generations that will bear the cost of its failure.

Saek, along with other professional groups – the employers and industrialists federation (OEV), the association of private hospitals (Pasin), and the medical association (CyMA) – proposed earlier in the week to the president a multi-payer system insurance for at least the first three years of Gesy. The proposal calls for employers and employees to either enter the public healthcare system or keep their existing health insurance for the first three years after Gesy is introduced. After this period, further planning could be made based on the experience of these three years.

This proposal aims at achieving a smooth transition of the existing private sector health care system to the new state of affairs and also ensure that the implementation of the Gesy would not begin before state hospitals were ready.

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