Residents Of Jamaica Propose Health Tax
16 July 2013
Posted by: Author: Mike Godfrey
Author: Mike Godfrey
Residents of St. Catherine have recommended the implementation of a health tax, similar to the education tax, as a means of generating revenue to finance the public health system.
The suggestion was among proposals coming out of a consultation on public health financing, held on Tuesday, July 09, on the grounds of the Spanish Town Hospital.
Other suggestions coming out of the session in St. Catherine are for an increase in the levy on cigarette and tobacco companies, as well as a tax on junk food.
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in welcoming the suggestions said he has been impressed by the robust discussions and the many thought provoking ideas that have been put forward by citizens at the consultations held to date.
He noted that the results of the consultations should allow the Government to formulate a position that will not compromise services for the most vulnerable in the population.
He stressed that, whatever model of financing the Government adopts for the health system, must be one that is not only sustainable, but also provides for a balance between access and quality care.
"There is no point in saying we want to create access at the expense of quality,” the Minister stated.
The Health Minister noted that Jamaica is blessed with a cadre of talented and excellent medical professionals, who can be rated among "the best anywhere across the globe” but noted that "what we need to fix is the necessary funding that will sustain a quality system and that will allow for the gaps in terms of manpower, diagnostics and infrastructure (to be filled).”