Former President John Mahama’s promise to provide free primary healthcare for Ghanaians should he win the 7 December 2020 polls is “almost meaningless” because the people targeted by that intervention are already catered to by the National Health Insurance Scheme, since those people do not pay premiums, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
Speaking at the 2020 manifesto launch of the governing New Patriotic Party in Cape Coast on Saturday, 22 August 2020, said: “It is important for us to note that 95 per cent of the disease burden is already covered under NHIS’ primary, secondary or tertiary diseases and children, the elderly and vulnerable groups don’t have to pay the NHIS premium anymore, so, if you say you’re going to offer free primary healthcare, it’s almost meaningless because if you have free primary healthcare and you don’t have an NHIS card, and you go for a checkup and they say: ‘Go for secondary treatment, what are you going to do?”
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) made the promise in July this year.
Speaking at the inauguration of his running mate, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang in Accra on Monday, 27 July 2020, Mr Mahama said: “Ladies and gentlemen, as a social democratic party, we seek to harness the best qualities in all our people to transform the destiny of our nation”.
“In that direction, and as the fulcrum around which our health policy will evolve, we will before the end of 2021, introduce and begin the implementation of a Free Primary Health Care Plan”, he announced.
He explained: “This will make the provision of primary health care to all Ghanaians, young and elderly, free”.
“Our free health care plan will guarantee a healthy people and provide the healthy workforce needed to accelerate our development”, he added.
According to him, “weak infrastructure does not propel growth and improvements in the quality of lives of a people”, thus, his investment into that area during his first term in office.
“This is precisely why, during my Presidency, I took aggressive steps to develop and consolidate our healthcare infrastructure, our educational infrastructure, our transport infrastructure and our digital infrastructure”, Mr Mahama noted.
“This is how to build a resilient nation”, he asserted.
He said “without creating and consolidating a developed infrastructure, no nation can resist global shocks. Just imagine for a second how Ghana would have been without the University of Ghana Medical Centre and the Ga East District Hospital as the number of COVID-19 cases keep rising”.
“The speed of building and consolidating our infrastructure has slowed down because the current government is largely ignoring the infrastructural buffers that build resilience in the face of misfortune.
“The NDC believes in Ghana’s future and will address the issues that affect you, each and every one of us”, he added.