The House of Representatives has unveiled plans for the amendment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act, 2014 with the view to expand its coverage to millions of Nigerians living in the rural areas based on the principles of democracy and social justice as stipulated in section 14 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The resolution was passed on the floor of the House, sequel to the passage of the Bill for an Act to amend the NHIS Act No.8, 2014, which seeks to define the basic minimum package of the health services to select Nigerians without prejudice to the requirement of payments to the contributory scheme stipulated under the NHIS Act and for other related matters, sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Bello.
Some of the proposed amendments include; Clause 1, 2(3), 11(3) and 38(4).
Hon Bello proposed amendment to Section 11(3e) which states that: “5% shall be allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme, in addition to the provisions under paragraph (a) of the section in the Principal Act.
“The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit shall supervise the application of such authorised funds of health maintenance organisations to ensure transparency and probity in the public service.”
He also proposed amendment to section 38 of the Principal Act in subsection (1) by inserting a new paragraph (b) and (c) after the existing paragraph a, which states that: (b) a well-articulated health care cost and effective mechanism for monitoring of prices for health care services shall be provided”, while (c) provides that: “a framework that regulates practice by public and private health care service providers as well as streamlining remuneration of resident and non-resident health care service providers shall be provided.”
In his lead debate, Hon Bello who explained that the Bill seeks to ensure the national health insurance scheme which was initiated to provide subsidy for health services for Nigerians is enjoyed by all who need it expressed deep sadness that scores of Nigerians, especially in the rural areas, the unemployed and the aged are unable to enjoy this all-important service.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme was established to facilitate the provision of subsidised health packages to Nigerians irrespective of official status, gender or geographical location. Unfortunately, a greater population of Nigerians especially those in rural areas or outside government could not benefit from the scheme due to one technicality or the other. Considering its importance, healthcare is a matter of national security and a means to enhance human capital.
“A significant population of Nigerians especially rural dwellers, unemployed and the aged are in dire need of assistance in the provisions of health services, while the health challenges, maternal, child mortality, malaria and a variety of infectious diseases are making life difficult for many.
“This bill is proposed to amend the principal legislation that regulates the provision of health services to facilitate the provision of free health services to select Nigerians in desperate need to meet the primary purpose of government under section 14.”
Hon Bello observed that the bill seeks to amend the necessary laws in the National Health Act to ensure the primary purpose of governance for the well-being of Nigerians is met.
Following the overwhelming support enjoyed by the proposed bill, it was referred to the House Committee on Health Services for further legislative action.
Greater population of Nigerians deprived from accessing NHIS, Reps lament
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