Shadow health minister says proposed health insurance won’t work

KAMPALA.

The proposed multi-billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will not give contributors value for their money, unless government first sorts out the mess in the health sector, the shadow minister for health has said.

While addressing civil society’s members and MPs who are drafting a Bill entitled “The Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities Bill 2014,” that stipulates the responsibilities of health workers and patients, Shadow minister for Health Lulume Bayigga yesterday said government should first equip the health facilities and motivate health workers before asking for the said contributions.

“Today, government has reduced citizens to thinking that providing them with health care is prerogative and not a right. You find health facilities without gloves and how do you expect the insurance scheme to work,” Mr Bayigga said.

The scheme, proposed in 2007, is premised on helping all Ugandans access basic health care services through compulsory contributions of 4 per cent of an employee’s salary and the employer contributing another 4 per cent to make it 8 per cent per worker.

It is estimated that Uganda has only one million workers formally employed in private and government sectors.

The scheme is expected to raise Shs313 billion in the first year of implementation, Shs673 billion in the third year and Shs26 bllion from the informal sector at the roll out.

Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation executive director, Ms Robinah Kaitiritimba, said formulators of the 1995 Constitution did not constitutionally empower the citizens to have right to health and thus making government complacent with the status-quo, reasoning that if there is law that forces government to provide health care, the NHIS proposal will be spot on.

“People are dying because of the pathetic health facilities but there is no law that specifically guarantees the right to health and if NHIS is passed without the law, we shall be in danger,” Ms Kaitiritimba

Last year, the Uganda Insurers Association (UIA) questioned the viability of the scheme since every household is entitled to Shs160,000, raising fears that contributors will in the end get mediocre services due to limited resources.

Contributors
Including those who cannot contribute. For the majority who cannot contribute to the scheme, government plans to pay the medical costs through a pool of pre-determined premium contributed to the scheme.

ptajuba@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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