DWAYNE SANDS LOST ON NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

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Last week the Minister for Health Dr. Duane Sands came up with a remarkable suggestion to fund National Health Insurance. He said that what was needed was a sin tax, the proceeds of which would go to funding NHI.  But excuse our French but what the expletive is wrong with the FNM that they so like to reinvent the wheel?  A blueprint was left in place for funding NHI.  There is no magic to it.  It is called a payroll tax. In other words, everyone who is now on the rolls as an employed or self-employed person would have a deduction from their payroll and go as their health insurance fee.  It would be mandatory.  If you have issues with its introduction, you start with a small percent at first and then gradually raise it.  Now there has to be public education on this matter. There is no free lunch.  There is no way to improve the health care that we have unless we give it additional and secure funding.  The FNM campaigned against National Health Insurance. They need to stop with the campaigning and get going.  People are dying because of inadequate health care.  According to Dr. Sands, a sin tax would mean additional taxes on alcohol, sugar drinks and tobacco.  You would think it is so easy. Not so fast.  Alcohol is supposed to be duty free for tourists. Sugar drinks are the choice of the poor for snacks and lunchtime. Tobacco is probably already maxed out in taxes.  Just revisit the case of the Canadians who put such a high tax on tobacco that people started running illegal cigarettes from the U.S.  So let’s not get ahead of ourselves on this. The best way is still the old fashioned way: a payroll tax. No getting around it.