'NHI legal' ruling upsets overhaul

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January 03, 2018

A long-anticipated legal opinion from the Office of the Attorney General complicates the Minnis administration’s effort to create a National Health Insurance (NHI) programme that fits its preferences and will likely limit the administration’s ability to quickly accomplish its NHI goals, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands confirmed yesterday.

As one of its first official acts, the board of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) sought a legal opinion about whether the actions of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat – established by the previous Christie administration – were legal and potentially binding.

This was because even before the NHI board was established and key provisions of the NHIA were published in a gazette, the secretariat entered into numerous contracts with residents and healthcare providers.

Nonetheless, the AG’s Office has said in its opinion delivered to Dr Sands the secretariat’s actions were essentially legal. 

The NHIA board cannot make significant changes to the programme therefore without considering the legal and financial implications connected to the preexisting arrangements the NHI Secretariat entered into. 

“We requested a review of the decisions made by the secretariat subsequent to April 2017 and certainly while there were irregularities, the basis of the decision making process was consistent with the spirit of what was intended and the Attorney General’s Office was of the opinion that a duly constituted board could rarify even retroactively the decisions made by the secretariat even though at the time there had been no standing for those decisions to be made,” Dr Sands said.

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News date : 01/03/2018    Category : About Bahamians, Health, Tribune Stories

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