High Court Suspends Social Health Insurance Fund Implementation

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The Social Health Insurance Bill is designed to revamp Kenya’s health financing structure. The funds were to focus on resolving longstanding issues within the National Insurance Fund (NHIF) and extending the reach of health insurance coverage.

Just a week following the issuance of a Gazette notice of health cabinet secretary. Susan Nakhumicha to activate the Social Health Insurance Fund. The high court has halted the enforcement of the Social Health Insurance Fund Act 2023, the Primary Health Care 2023, and the Digital Health Act 2023. This suspension will remain in effect until a legal challenge questioning its legitimacy is heard.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacist, and Dentist Union (KMPDU) followed through on its promise to contest the implementation of the social health insurance scheme.

The doctor’s union secured court orders to halt the government’s scheduled launch of universal health coverage outlined in the laws. President William Ruto announced would take effect in January 2024.

KMPDU contends that the government implemented the Social Health Insurance Act without involving stakeholders to address the disputed concerns.

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The doctor’s union raised concerns regarding section 25(5) of the SHIF Act. Which stipulates that “Any person who is registered as a member in this act. Shall produce proof of compliance with the provisions of this Act on registration and contribution as a precondition of accessing public service. Either from the national government, county government, or national and county government entities.”

The unions argue that it will deprive Kenyan citizens of access to government services.

This occurred shortly after the Health Cabinet Secretary held discussions with the NHIF staff. Regarding the transition to the new scheme. During the meeting, she assured them that the transition, despite potential job losses, would be conducted in a dignified manner.

The Health Cabinet Secretary cautioned NHIF staff against any efforts to undermine the transition to the Social Health Authority.