FILE - Egyptian Parliament
CAIRO-15 July 2018: Upon instructions of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to implement the first phase of the new Health Insurance Law, the Ministry of Health will declare on Sunday its plan before the Parliament to put it into effect.
The Health Committee carefully follows up the mechanisms set by the Ministry of Health to apply the comprehensive Health Insurance Law, and it will hold a meeting with Minister of Health Hala Zayed to look into the details of the plan after the Parliament officially grants the confidence to the government, according to Ayman Abul-Ela, deputy of the Health Committee in the House of Representatives.
In this regard, the Health Committee stressed that the new law will achieve a great progress in health services provided to Egyptians; hence, the committee will head in the upcoming period to Port Said,the first governorate where the plan will be implemented, to inspect the infrastructure of the hospitals and health units.
Abul-Ela added that LE 1.8 billion from the public budget were allocated to put the plan into effect in Port Said by the end of the current year.
He further remarked that implementing the plan requires developing the first aid, focusing on the maternity and childhood services, establishing the three bodies mentioned in the new law to manage the health system, including the General Authority for Health Insurance, which will finance the system, General Authority for Healthcare, and the General Authority for Accreditation and Supervision, which will determine hospitals and medical units eligible to join the system, in addition to activating the system to electronically provide all the services of the health insurance system.
In the same context, Deputy Chairman of Health Committee Mustafa Abu Zaid said that Port Said was chosen as it is less populated and has a qualified infrastructure, referring that Gharbia governorate poses a great challenge to implementing the law as its health institutions need full rehabilitation.
President Sisi's plan for his second term mainly focuses on building Egyptian citizens physically, culturally and intellectually, which puts the Egyptians’ good health among the top priorities.
The first phase of the new Health Insurance Law was launched July 6, according to presidency spokesperson BassamRady.
In an official statement issued July 6, Rady said the first phase of the new law includes preliminary procedures for the full implementation of the law, including:
“The elimination of patient waiting lists for surgery and critical medical interventions within six months, providing the needed stocks of infant formula and vaccines, and finishing the comprehensive survey and treatment of Hepatitis C virus for Egyptian citizens.”
Last December, Egypt’s Parliament approved the new Health Insurance Law, raising a stormy debate between the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, which opposes the draft law, and parliamentarians. The law was criticized for imposing more burdens on the individual's income as the law raises monthly insurance fees.
After discussions that took over a month, former Minister of Health and Population Ahmed EmadEddin announced on Dec. 19 the Parliament’s approval of all articles of the new Health Insurance Law.
Egypt's health system has been criticized for years for not meeting standards. The new health insurance law proposed in October 2017 is considered a new government bid to overcome the shortcomings of the old system that was deemed inadequate and insufficiently safeguarding patients' rights.
Lawmakers defended the new law as it would boost the quality of health services in public hospitals. The old law covered health services for governmental and seasonal workers, while the newly approved amendments guarantee the same medical services to all citizens.
Despite the expected positive impact of the new law, more burdens on citizens’ income are feared as the law raises monthly insurance fees. Given the difficult economic conditions, the law amendments "would place a large burden on low-income families," Dr. Mohamed Hassan Khalil, coordinator of an independent health organization, told Egypt Today.
CAIRO - 21 December 2017: The Egyptian Parliament finally approved the new national health insurance law, raising a stormy debate between the Egyptian Medical Syndicate opposing the draft law and parliamentarians. After fruitful discussion that took over a month, Minister of Health and Population Ahmed EmadEddin announced on December 19 the approval of the Council of Representatives on all articles of the new comprehensive universal health insurance law.