Gov’t Weighing Domestic Options To Fund NHIS – MoH
The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has indicated that with the decreasing Development Assistance for Ghana, the Ministries of Finance and Health are working closely together to identify sustainable sources of domestic revenue to fund the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Agyeman-Manu made the statement at an Annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) forum in the United States of America that sought to discuss how countries are funding their respective Health Insurance programmes and the challenges being faced with.
The Minister disclosed that, in Ghana, in order to sustain the scheme and make it robust, there is the possibility of increasing VAT, Employer and employee contributions among other options.
The 2018 UHC Financing Forum which is the third in the series and had The World Bank Group and USAID as the host was under the theme; Greater Equity for Better Health and Financial Protection, and took place in Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC from April 19-20, 2018.
The Forum focused on mobilizing and shaping health financing to achieve equity and access to health services. The two-day event would build on previous Forum discussions, which looked at resource mobilization and strategic policies and practical interventions to help governments use health system resources more efficiently.
In an answer to a question whether earmarking is critical to a fair allocation of revenue to health since the Ministry of Finance wants to limit the extent of earmarking where a share of VAT proceeds is allocated to the National Health Insurance. The Minister opined that earmarking is critical to the design of the Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme as it ensures a sustainable source of funding the scheme. The earmarking, he said, has to a large extent regular sources of funding to the scheme, disclosing that, it is 2.5 percent points VAT and 2.5 percent points from the Social Security and National Insurance (SSNIT).
In furtherance to the funding mechanism of Ghana’s Health Insurance scheme, the the Health Minister said, in Ghana, it is a hybrid of hard and soft earmarking which allows the Ministry of Finance to have some fiscal space to manoeuvre and also ensures macroeconomic stability of the country. He, said, however, that, earmarking to the health insurance should not affect the budget to the Ministry of Health from the Ministry of Finance.
Some officials from the Health sector also participated in the forum including, Dr. Samuel Yaw Annor – Chief Executive of NHIA, Dr. Lydia Dsane-Selby, Deputy Chief Executive, Operations also with NHIA and others from the Ministry of Health.