Will the election in Ghana affect the NHIS?

On January 14, 2009, in Ghana, health insurance, politics, by Karen Grepin

Last year while conducting some field research on health reforms in Ghana, I conducted a series of interviews with experts on the newly implemented National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana. One of the questions I liked to ask was the experts was their opinion on how sustainable the program was in the long-run. When I asked one senior official, he replied, “the NHIS will be sustainable until January 2009”. I paused, then I realized he meant, that he believed the program would fall apart after the presidential election.

The NHIS scheme was a key element of the social platform of the outgoing NPP party. The promise of the scheme, as well as the actual implementation of the scheme were important campaign promises during the past few elections. Despite the popularity of the scheme, it was not enough to keep the party in power this time around. It has been speculated that the NPP has been subsidizing the scheme at much higher levels than it was openly reporting in order to keep it around until the election.

A story in the Chronicle, a Ghanaian paper, suggest that there are early signs that just a few weeks after the election the scheme is starting to show some cracks. Of course, it could all be a part of regular slow downs in payments, which are certainly not new for the scheme, but it does raise some serious questions about the future of the program.

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