PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - During the National Health Week, several meetings with various stakeholders have been scheduled by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour. This included sessions with the Social Economic Council (SER), the Council of Advice, the Council of Health, Parliament as well as two-day session for invited stakeholders.
On Tuesday January 24, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the matter of National Health Insurance. To learn from others countries’ experiences, Minister Lee invited several experts in the field to discuss the topic at hand from different angles. After the introductory remarks of both the Minister and Ms. Fenna Arnell, Department Head of Public Health, the experts which included Professor Wynand van de Ven, Professor of Health Insurance at the Erasmus University, Researcher Stanley Lalta from the University of the West Indies and Mr. Anco Ringeling of AZV Aruba, each gave their point of view on National Health Insurance and the process leading up to it. The meeting resulted in an interactive and informative session with the ministers present.
Though the main topic of discussion is the National Health Insurance (NHI), it is interconnected with National Health Reform. The significance, complication and the far-reaching impact of the issue at hand is well understood by both the Council of Ministers and the Ministry, yet as a result of the instruction of the Dutch Government to contain Sint Maarten’s expenditures spent on health care, the Government is committed toward the national health reform initiative that will be rolling out over the course of the next four years, one of which will be the implementation of NHI. The organization of various consultation sessions for stakeholders to provide their input is therefore of utmost importance, althus Ms. Fenna Arnell.
The aim of the National Health Insurance Week is to share knowledge and lessons learnt from other countries as well as to gain more insight from stakeholders as to how they envision a national health insurance program on St. Maarten. One of the critical decisions that needs to be decided upon is whether Sint Maarten should apply a single insurer or multi-insurer model.