Sun | Feb 25, 2018

Health insurance tax unconscionable

Published:Saturday | March 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM


While I am strongly opposed to the Estimates of Expenditure tabled in Parliament by the Government on Thursday, March 9, 2017, the part that really took a toll on me was the proposition to tax health insurance.

In all fairness, our health sector is in a deplorable condition. This is no state secret, as the news of the dilemma floods the airwaves daily, including our inability as a small island developing state to manage the outbreaks of chikungunya, the Zika virus, the cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome, and, most recently, the noxious fumes at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, which resulted in patients and staff being equally sick.

Added to that, we are also, for the most part, well aware that public access to medication is not as free-flowing as we would like because the State cannot afford it. This, therefore, means that members of a particular demography in society are already disadvantaged where health care is concerned.




Now, only a minute percentage of the population is able to afford health insurance, particularly those who belong to the working class. How fair is it for the Government to tax their only chance of attaining affordable health care from the meagre salary that many of them are already receiving at month end?

We must remember that a nation that is unhealthy cannot foster production at its optimum potential. At this juncture, we should be seeking ways to offer better public health care service to citizens of this country.

We should be finding ways to provide health insurance to the most vulnerable among us: children, the elderly and those who fall below the economic threshold. Taxing health insurance is counterproductive and the Government must make decisions that reflect what is best for the citizens at large.


International Relations Student