Thursday’s headline “SZV no longer able to pay monthly invoices for government employees” led some to believe the collective social and health insurer is already low on funds due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, one has nothing to do with the other.
In fact, this is a long-existing problem that successive Finance Ministers including Roland Tuitt, Martin Hassink, Richard Gibson and Perry Geerlings have tried to deal with. For example, it was reported on January 7, 2016, that the then-William Marlin Cabinet had worked out a plan to settle the debts to both SZV and General Pension Fund APS.
In this specific case it regards the OZR Fund for heath coverage of civil servants that SZV only manages on behalf of government. The latter is thus responsible for providing the necessary means to cover expenses, but consistently has failed to do so despite countless agreements to make up the backlog in payments.
This is obviously not a good situation for officials on whom public administrators and elected representatives depend to execute their policies and decisions. Having to wait on reimbursement of medical bills is rather unpleasant especially in times of health-related crisis such as the current coronavirus threat.
Apparently whatever arrangements had been made in the recent past were not being lived up to, with all consequences for those involved. It’s high time that changes, because government simply cannot keep treating its personnel with such lack of empathy and – frankly – disrespect.
Thursday’s editorial on maximum price controls mentioned that no violations had yet been reported, but that was incorrect. As the related story stated, several infractions were noted and the retailers in question received fines. The Daily Herald apologises for this oversight.