By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade Tuesday in Calabar, assented to the Cross River State Insurance Scheme law crafted to give Cross Riverians health insurance with a minimal premium of 1,000 Naira per month.
Christened “Ayadecare”, the Governor in an elaborate signing ceremony held at Government House Calabar stressed the benefits of the law which is a replica of the National Health Insurance Scheme with modifications which he said will expand healthcare insurance to all Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels as well as adults in the state.
Ayade who spoke for over 20 minutes pointed out that the bill aims “To take the medical burden off our poor” adding that the bill is social with a view to tackling the financial challenges of accessing quality healthcare as; “The medical challenges of our people have been taken away and placed on this platform”.
The assent also means the creation of the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency which is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the effective management of the funds that the Governor disclosed will not be accessible to the government itself.
When implemented fully, Cross Riverians and others resident in the state aged 18 and above will be required to pay a minimum of 1,000 Naira monthly with an option of paying more if the individual so desires, a sum which the Governor himself has criticized as very small but quickly added that; “This is a program aimed at taking care of the people at the lowest level of the pyramid.”
The Governor also pledged an undisclosed “Lump Sum” as his monthly contribution to support each of the 18 local government areas with commissioners and assembly members present making several donations which combined with the support from the World Bank and other developing partners totaled almost 50 million Naira.
Earlier, the speaker of the house of assembly, Honorable John Lebo in his comments of the bill said that the processes of the bill were fast tracked due to its sensitive nature and the fact that the 8th assembly is a solution architect.
Shortly after signing the bill, Ayade jetted out of the state to Abuja with unconfirmed information suggesting that he is heading for Australia.
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