Tension is rising after the recent leaking of a proposal by the Cyprus Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEB) on the suspension of contributions to the National Health Scheme (NHS) since both the Ministry of Health and the Health Insurance Organization (HIO) oppose such a possibility. The message sent to OEB is that the implementation of NHS is on a no-return path.
OEB Director General Michalis Antoniou defended the proposal in an interview on state radio yesterday saying that they would ask for the suspension of contributions, and this means that legislation should also be regulated until the HIO, nurses and doctors reach agreement.
Right now, he said, there are differences between the involved parties that could take a month or a year to be resolved. At the same time, a horizontal solidarity contribution of 1% on the national payroll that could be applied would bring in €100 million, he added.
At the same time, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou issued a written statement saying he was forced to respond to OEB’s proposal and calling on the Federation to participate constructively as a member of the HIO so as to bridge the differences between the parties involved. “I urge OEB, as a member of the HIO Board of Directors, to act in good faith as a facilitator for narrowing the gap between HIS and its members and, taking a leading role, to contribute constructively to the project,” the Minister wrote.
Statements by Thomas Antoniou, head of HIO, were on the same wavelength. He told Cyprus News Agency that the NHS is on an implementation path that will continue and that he sees no reason for contributions to be suspended.