Playing with our Health


Several explanations given by the Executive Council of St. Martin in response to budget questions by the faction of the Democratic have given rise for much concern.

We have tried to make sense out of the bits and pieces of information provided, but that has only heightened the concerns of our faction.

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"Preferably", the government says: "there will be a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with SVB- Curacao", as per 10-10-10 the SVB-Netherlands Antilles will be taken over by country Curacao. BZV will be discontinued, according to the NA/Heyliger/Laveist government, but this is not yet definite, as "consultations are ongoing about future intentions and discontinuation of activities due to NHI."

However, it is clear that SVB (Cur) and BZV will merge. The NHI is not expected to go into effect until 1-1-2012, the NHL government has reported. What the SLA with SVB-Cur will regulate and how the SLA will work, government does not know. They will "work that out" in the 2nd quarter of 2010.

Yet the government anticipates "that all premiums will remain on St. Martin after obtaining country status and the funds will be controlled by institutions set up or governed/ controlled by St. Martin".

St. Martin’s share in the SVB (Netherlands Antilles) assets has been calculated at approximately 150 million guilders, again according to government. Will the division of assets and liabilities of the SVB-Neth. Antilles take place per 10-10-10 and if so, will this money be put in escrow until the NHI is in place or will government consider this "decentralization" cost/revenue for its budget? Will the division not take place, because of the SLA? The Government would not know this, as they don’t know the scope of the SLA at this time, according to their own admission.

Government is awaiting the appointment of a new project manager for the NHI before anything can be submitted to the island council, outlining government’s intention for the NHI. Government still refers to the NHI as only the "preferred strategy". Mind you, we are practically in the month of April. We can only but conclude that the government is taking this matter of the health of thousands of persons on St. Martin very lightly. As far as the SVB service to St. Martin is concerned , will it in the end only be the replacement of the Netherlands Antilles with Curacao giving service to St. Martin? Can the government please replace some of the words like preferably, preferred, anticipated, and future intentions and tell the people what’s in store as far as health coverage is concerned?

Is enough time spent by the decision makers/ commissioners in this important area? Are they even aware of the potential of a vacuity in health insurance if not a looming crisis in this area?