- The petition, initiated by rights group Amnesty Kenya, noted 13 clauses of the regulations that it said were not only draconian but would simply impoverish Kenyans.
- Last week, Medical Services PS Harry Kimtai, attended the consultative engagement with the Senate Standing Committee on Health to discuss NHIF acts and the proposed NHIF regulations of 2023.
Ministry of Health remains upbeat that the NHIF regulations, which would see employed people taxed 2.7 per cent of their gross income, will be implemented by October.
MPs in the Senate were the last stakeholders to give their views on the controversial regulations last week.
NHIF is expected to incorporate all views before submitting the final regulations to Parliament for debate.
The taxation will nearly double contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund, which currently collects about Sh80 billion every year.
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha said she was confident MPs would adopt the regulations as they are.
“We are working on new regulations for NHIF. We have finalised, and the minimum is going to move from 500 to 300 from October,” Nakhumicha said.
However, the regulations state jobless Kenyans will pay Sh1,000 a month, up from Sh500.
“A contributor who is not employed or listed as an indigent person or vulnerable person shall pay a monthly contribution of one thousand shillings,” clause 13 of the proposed regulations says.
The oft-cited Sh300 contribution is only reserved for employed people, where 2.75 per cent of their gross income would fall below Sh300.
“A contributor shall pay Sh300, where the amount in paragraph (1) is less than Sh300,” the regulations say.
Last week, Medical Services PS Harry Kimtai, attended the consultative engagement with the Senate Standing Committee on Health to discuss the regulations.
“The implementation of the proposed regulations is expected to reduce the financial burden of healthcare costs on Kenyans, making healthcare more affordable and accessible. Additionally, it seeks to elevate the quality of healthcare services, ensuring higher standards and improved medical care for a broader segment of the population,” the ministry said in a statement.
In May, during the public participation for the regulations, thousands of Kenyans signed a petition demanding the ministry withdraw the regulations.
The petition, initiated by rights group Amnesty Kenya, noted 13 clauses of the regulations that it said were not only draconian but would simply impoverish Kenyans.
“We cannot let these harmful clauses go unchallenged,” Amnesty said in the petition, which was presented to CS Nakhumicha and board chair Michael Kamau.
“Access to healthcare is a human right that should not be denied or restricted by punitive clauses in legislation,” Amnesty added.
The petition noted new 2.75 per cent tax on gross monthly income is one of the highest in the world.
It would also be difficult to prove one should contribute Sh300 because “the [NHIF] board may require the contributor to avail such evidence and documentation as the board may consider necessary”.
Amnesty said in total, there are 13 clauses that will limit access to affordable, quality healthcare.
The government hopes to raise the money to finance the Sh500 billion proposed Universal Health Coverage.
National Dialogue on Sustainable Health Financing in Kenya in June backed the new taxes, but the World Health Organization issued a warning.
"The country needs to consider if the ways finances are raised is fair in order to finance the UHC," WHO said in a statement after the meeting released its declaration.
WHO said only two countries in Africa have managed to finance more than 70 per cent of their health budgets from domestic resources.
"Kenya has a total of 47 per cent of government spending in health. That shows the road to UHC is long," the WHO said.