Recent cases of Government ministers seeking treatment as far away as Ireland has not burdened the Treasury, a senior Government officially said yesterday.
Responding to questions about permission being granted to a minister to fly overseas and the bill being around US$16,000, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, disclosed that indeed cases have come up.
Speaking during the weekly post-Cabinet press briefings at the Ministry of the Presidency, yesterday, Harmon also disclosed that negotiations are underway that will see medical insurance coverage for senior officials.
Defending why a minister would want to travel as far away as Ireland, in Europe, the minister pointed out that some persons may opt to get the best possible medical care if they are sick.
In any case, the bill was footed by the ministers. He did not name the ministers.
The medical expenses will eventually be taken up by the insurance when it kicks in, he said.
The issue of medical bills being footed by the state has been a galling one in the past.
Normal citizens have complained of being granted a fraction of what they need for emergency attention. The process has always been a tough one to access the funds from the state.
However, a softer view has been taken of government officials who fell ill and in some cases of Opposition members.
Previous governments have paid for treatments in the tune of millions for former Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, and even the late PPP executive, Navin Chandarpal.
However, one particular case has angered the public.
It was learnt that in February 2014, former President Bharrat Jagdeo was taken on a hired jet to Florida, US. His entourage comprised best friend, Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, and his security detail.
News of the late-night flight immediately sparked condemnation and reignited the debate over the controversial Former Presidents (Benefits and other Facilities) Act 2009 which Jagdeo himself had assented to. It allows those eligible to have virtually unlimited access to medical benefits, both local and international.
The administration has since placed caps on the benefits.
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