Government says it has settled over half of the debt of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with the assurance of paying the other half within 12 months.
President Nana Akufo-Addo assured that his administration is poised to make the NHIS a reliable health scheme that Ghanaians will be proud of.
He disclosed this at the first session of the 50th congregation and fifth swearing and induction ceremony of 54 doctors at the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast on Saturday.
Contrary to government's promise to pay the 12 months arrears owed service providers under the Scheme, only one month's arrears was been paid back as at May this year.
The amount was just a drop in the ocean of a ¢1.2 billion debt owed health providers some of who had threatened on several occasions to withdraw their services.
During the 100-day town hall event organized by Joy News, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia announced that government was going to pay the arrears owed the service providers.
Following that announcement, the Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu in a meeting with the health providers on April 19, 2017, also assured that the 12-month arrears will be cleared within seven days.
In stating government's preparedness to pay the arrears he also stated there will be "an injection of good amount of money" to keep the authority vibrant.
"Government is clearly aware of the challenges confronting the health sector," he said, adding there will be monthly releases from the Finance Ministry to keep the policy vibrant.
The Executive Secretary of the Christian Health Association of Ghana, Peter Yeboah, told Joy News he is "disappointed shocked and surprised at the turn of events."
He bemoaned the fact that some of the service providers have not even received the one month arrears said to have been paid.
"Given that we have waited for 12 solid months and the debts that are being owed to member institutions it continues to wreck our system. Our suppliers and pharmaceutical companies continue to harass hospitals for non-payments of these bills, our banks continue to ask for repayments of debts with interests and our hospitals are being closed by electricity and water companies for non-payment.
Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Manu
"We think that this piecemeal and token payment from government is highly disappointing," he added.
He said there had been several promises from various government officials but none of them told them only one month out of the 12 months of arrears would be paid.
Speaking to the issue, the President Akufo-Addo said "my government is determined to solve this urgent problem of unpaid bills to health care providers.
"So far government has by dent of prudent management within the short space of seven months cleared ¢560 million out of the ¢1.2 million debt inherited. I can comfortably say that we will settle all the arrears within the next 12 months," he stated.
He said he is going to ensure that government is up to date on the payment of claims to NHIS service providers as it is essential the businesses of health providers do not collapse.
The President also cautioned the UCC and other universities that are entering into what is called ‘build operate and transfer’ arrangement to improve their infrastructure.
He charged university authorities to let government in when such arrangements are being done to avert future legal tussles.