Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion for the adoption of the Committee's Report.
Mr Speaker, I have a little difficulty but I think it is understandable. This is the Report of the Auditor-General for the year 2010 and we do know that we passed Act 852, the National Health Insurance Authority Law 842 in 2012, and therefore, some of the structures which may have been referred to in this Report because of the new law, may not be as they are. Be that as it may, we may still want to take note, so that we amend whatever we have done here to suit the new law.
I specifically want us to take note of the presence of the district health mutual schemes. Even though they still seem to be partly functioning, by law, they are not supposed to be in place. I know that efforts are being made to phase them out, so that when we make reference to them now, it may appear as if we are late in taking note of what is happening.
Mr Speaker, again, in the references, we are talking about Act 650 but I think it is all because of the Report being a 2010 Report.
Mr Speaker, much has been said and a lot has been noted, especially with over- payments and so to speak also, malpractices that have been happening with respect to some providers trying to tweak their reports in order to make them, so to speak, take advantage in the system. And the efforts that are being made to correct them.
Mr Speaker, what worries some of us specifically, in spite of the fact that the Health Insurance Authority is confounded with the problems, which is not specific to Ghana -- it is the same all over the world -- is the fact that in spite of the problems of funding, the Ministry of Finance still does not appear to appreciate what ought to be done.
The Ministry of Finance is still holding on to their funds, so that when there is shortage of funds to meet the claims made by providers, we still have long periods when the National Health Insurance Authority has not been able to meet the claims by law. This is because by law, as it is stipulated in the Report, they ought to have paid them, at least, within six weeks or so, even though they have space to make their reports within 60 days.
So, Mr Speaker, one of the things that I would also wish the House to take note of and to urge the Hon Minister for Finance to appreciate, is the need for the Ministry of Finance to make the requisite transfers as quickly as possible. As we speak now, the last transfer to the National Health Insurance Authority hit their accounts yesterday, the 4th of February, 2014 -- Some GH¢102 million, which even then, added up to make about 66 per cent of transfers for the year 2013.
So, they are still left with about 33 per cent of required transfers even though these monies are supposed to have been accumulating by the Ministry of Finance. So, why is the Ministry of Finance holding on to these funds, thus making it difficult for the National Health Insurance Authority to meet up to the claims of the providers?
One of the problems is that when these providers are meeting these, even though nobody would want to support it, is that they would also want to find means of tweaking systems in order to take advantage of whatever there is. We should all frown upon any tweaks but we should not look at the Ministry of Finance making it difficult for the Insurance Authority to make the necessary transfers to records of the institutions.
Mr Speaker, why I say so is that, the Government had a very good opportunity of increasing the Health Insurance Fund by adding one per cent of the two and a half per cent increase in the VAT, which we had been calling forth since the past three years for an increase -- 1 per cent increase in National Health Insurance Levy.