Robinah Nabbanja, the State Minister for Health announced that the government was withdrawing the bill, moments after the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga called for its second reading this afternoon. The Bill was first tabled before parliament for consideration in August 2019.
Parliament has unanimously rejected a move by
government to withdraw the National
Health Insurance Bill, 2019.
the State Minister for Health announced that the government was withdrawing the bill, moments after the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga called for its second reading this afternoon. The Bill was first tabled before parliament for
consideration in August 2019.
According to the Bill, all Ugandans above 18 years will be
required to contribute to the health insurance scheme before accessing health services across the
country. It also proposes a 4 per cent deduction on salaries of employees in the
formal sector while their employers will contribute 1 per cent to the health
scheme. Individuals in the informal sector will pay 100, 000
Nabbanja told Parliament that after the Bill had
been tabled in Parliament, President Yoweri Museveni held a meeting with the Minister
of Health and other key stakeholders from the private sector, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and
the Insurance Regulatory Authority to confirm whether all key stakeholders had consensus.
She said that the president then established that some
key stakeholders from the private sector are still not in agreement
with the provisions of the Bill on contributions and benefits yet this is the core objective of the National Health Insurance Scheme
to pull resources from various categories of the population and ensure gross
subsidies. Nabbanja appealed
that the Bill is withdrawn as further consultations are carried out.
//Cue in; “right honourable speaker…
But Kadaga said that the
withdrawal of the Bill was subject to the approval of the House. Subsequently, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa, said that the same
stakeholders highlighted by the Minister had been consulted by Parliament’s
Health Committee, and were all in agreement that Ugandans
need health insurance.
//Cue in; “so Madam
Butemba County MP Pentagon Kamusiime also objected to the move by the government saying that a total of 30 stakeholders had interacted with
the committee and these also included NSSF and the Insurance Regulatory Authority.
//Cue in; “the committee
Stephen Mukitale, the
Buliisa County MP said that government should by now be committed to having
the political will to solve health challenges amongst Ugandans. Mukitale said that
the government can still have an input in the Bill even on the floor of parliament
since consultations with different stakeholders had been already carried out by
“This matter has been
in parliament for over ten years…the debate about Health Insurance…the previous
two parliaments discussed this. So when the Bill came, it gave hope to citizens
that government finally is serious, it was giving hope,” said Mukitale.
//Cue in; “as long as…
Cue out…message to
Sarah Opendi, the
State Minister for Mineral Development said that during her tenure in the Health ministry, the sector spent most of the time trying to have a National Health Insurance Scheme in place.
She said that since the
Committee had made consultations on the Bill, parliament should move on to
consider the Bill since Uganda is the only country that does not have a health
insurance in the region.
“It took us time to
push this to where, finally, we were able to table a National Health Insurance
Bill. There was wide consultation right honourable Speaker. I am surprised that
now we are moving back because some people are complaining,” said Opendi.
//Cue in; “we
Cue out…supposed to
Following these submissions,
Kadaga put the question and the MPs unanimously voted in rejection of the
government proposal to withdraw the Bill. Another request by
Nabbanja to appeal that parliament gives her more time up to Thursday did not yield fruit after Kadaga said that the Bill
had been on the Order Paper for long and that they could not wait any longer.