Egypt’s Doctors Syndicate criticises new health insurance bill

Egypt’s Doctors Syndicate criticised the new health insurance bill drafted by the Ministry of Health, saying that it had dangerous implications on the medical field in Egypt.

In statements to Ahram Arabic website on Saturday, syndicate undersecretary Mona Mina slammed the bill, saying it was submitted by the ministry after many requests from the syndicate that was keen to discuss the draft law.

Mina said that the bill was very vague regarding the nature of the newly proposed health insurance system.

“The bill, which is supposed to establish a complete social health insurance system in accordance with the constitution, does not describe the insurance authority as non-profit in nature, but rather an economic entity,” said Mina, adding that this means the citizen has to pay for the service’s profit margin “just like any economic project.”

Mina also raised concerns that the bill does not specify the exact mechanism for hospitals, medical units and clinics to enrol in the medical insurance service, nor does it mention the fate of public hospitals that do not enrol in the service.

The Doctors Syndicate also expressed its concern that with the decline in the quality of service in the public health sector, public hospitals and clinics would be excluded from the health insurance system, especially if the government does not work towards raising the quality of services in those hospitals.

Mina also said that although the bill stipulates that an independent quality control authority would be established to improve the quality of the health insurance, the head of this authority would be appointed and supervised by the cabinet, which would also appoint the insurance leaders, suggesting a conflict of interest.

“The bill does not mention any role or participation or representation for citizens – who receive the service – on any board in these authorities, including the quality control authority,” Mina said.

The new health insurance bill is one of the first bills to be discussed by Egypt’s House of Representatives, which will hold its first session on 10 January.

The current health insurance system adopted in Egypt covers only 52 percent of the population, with the government allocating LE 8.2 billion to the system in the current state budget for this fiscal year.

The Ministry of Health says that the health insurance system adopted in the new bill will cover all Egyptians.

source: Ahram Online