11 May 2009

PNG workers said to back compulsory health insurance

6:11 am on 11 May 2009

A Papua New Guinea trade union leader says workers are strongly in favour of the compulsory health insurance he is advocating.

John Paska, the general secretary of the PNG Trade Union Congress, wants the country to embrace a system similar to Australia's Medicare.

He says at the moment most Papua New Guineans have little chance of receiving adequate medical care because the system is run down and antiquated, and gets little support from the national Government.

Mr Paska says if the ten percent of employees in formal work had health insurance it would mean access for the rest of the population would improve.

He says workers are very keen on an insurance to which they and the employers would contribute equally.

"101 percent in support. We met with stiff resistance from some of the politicians and the vast majority of insurance companies and you can understand that, because we basically undercut their profit margins. But, look, if it's good for the worker that is the way we are going to go."