PHILIPSBURG – With respect to medical care and the uninsured, Democratic Party (DP) Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams on Wednesday afternoon released the following statement on the subject.
“On June 4, I issued a statement that addressed several matters, including the following paragraph:’Medical coverage law: one would recall that during the budget debates, a motion was presented to authorize the Minister of Health to execute this law, which the Parliament had not even seen. Luckily, Parliament caught on in the nick of time. This important piece of legislation, offering coverage to presently uninsured groups and persons in our community, still has not reached parliament for debate. Where is the urgency?"
“Actually the law in question is formally named: Landsverordening Bezuiniging en Beheer Sociale Zekerheid en Zorg. (National Ordinance Savings and Management Social Security and Care). This name is important, as the draft amends several other ordinances, not only one ordinance.
“A so-called pre-draft (informal) of this law was presented to Parliament in December 2013, lacking the mandatory elucidation and financial paragraph. No further action on this law has been recorded in Parliament since. In January of this year, a motion was tabled in Parliament during the budget debate to authorize the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor to execute a part(!) of this law.
“As I mentioned about 3 weeks ago, luckily the Parliament agreed with me in January that without the entire law having been at least presented and debated in Parliament, it would be irresponsible to authorize any Minister to execute the same law and surely not parts of it without consideration for the other parts.
“Furthermore, the same draft ordinance is also about cost savings in the area of public health, as the name of the law clearly indicates. As mentioned, no financial paragraph has (yet) been presented.
“After the voting on the motion got underway, Parliament based on the above, suspended the voting and the motion. Lo and behold, this motion reappeared on the agenda of the public meeting of June 22nd. Not only was this unrelated to the agenda point and motions must be tabled at the time of the debate on the topic, but a copy of practically the same motion was submitted, now dated June 22nd.
“What I mostly objected to however, was the fact that the motion in its resolution, authorized the Minister to implement an Article V of the law, while the law which was presented to Parliament in December 2013, has no such article in it. This I think is downright misleading and to have it presented as something that would offer uninsured person’s immediate coverage is regrettable.
“I close with the call I made on June 4th: ‘This important piece of legislation, offering coverage to presently uninsured groups and persons in our community, still has not reached parliament for debate. Where is the urgency?’, was my question to the government.
“And now to address the matter of Parliament authorizing a minister to execute a draft law or other regulations that are the domain of Parliament, but Parliament has not yet approved such, generally speaking. This is surely possible, however, there must be evidence of the urgency, even crisis, the constitution must be observed (Ombudsman, Council of Advice, etc.), the authority must be well defined and for a specific period of time,” DP MP Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams concluded in her press statement.