Green light for healthcare bill

A strategy to provide health insurance for Bahrainis and expatriates working in both the public and private sectors has been approved.  Plans to establish an executive committee for the National Health Insurance Programme, which were submitted by Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Supreme Council of Health chairman Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, were given the green light by the Cabinet yesterday.

The committee aims to draw up a strategy that includes drafting regulations, guidelines and laws as well as following-up on implementation stages and ensuring that all concerned authorities ratify the programme.

Former Health Minister and Shura Council member Dr Nada Haffadh, who came up with the original strategy in 2006, said providing insurance for everyone in Bahrain was a huge step forward.
“It will start with expatriates and then shift to nationals, but insurance will be covering all at one stage,” she said.

“Health insurance will be regulated by the Health Insurance Regulatory Authority, which will be later formed and assigned funding, and people seeking services will have the choice to select government medical facilities or from the private sector.

“The private sector will have to compete amongst itself and so does the government, which will help improve services provided by Salmaniya Medical Complex, in return we will have better health services from all.”

She said health insurance for expatriates will be covered by sponsors, while the government will shoulder expenses of Bahrainis.

“It has taken a long time because the Health Ministry was calculating the cost per complete service, but I have heard that it is over now, and for that the government is pushing ahead beyond expatriates as initially planned.”

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