I have been spending the week in Accra, Ghana where I am preparing for a new course “Health Systems and Health Reform in Ghana“, which I will be teaching here at the NYU-Accra site this summer. I have been travelling to Ghana since 2004 and I am always amazed how much this country changes on every new visit. I have a friend here who likes to say that sometimes he leaves home in the morning and by the time he comes home from work a new building has been put up along his drive. He is only half joking.
Lots has also changed here with regards to its health system, most notably the National Health Insurance Scheme, which has been operation for about 5 years now. The scheme is largely financed through a combination of a 2.5% VAT tax (called the National Health Insurance Levy) and premiums, however it is believed that the premiums represent only a minor share of the total revenue for the program.
One of the things that I have noticed on this trip is the way in which nearly every restaurant and business now prominently displays the amount of money collected as part of the health insurance levy. At the bottom of every receipt I can now see exactly how much I have contributed towards the National Health Insurance Scheme. It is funny – but somehow seeing it always makes me smile. I figure I’ll end up contributing nearly $25 towards to National Health Insurance Fund this week but paying this tax actually makes me feel good! A tax only a health economist could love, I suppose.Share on Facebook