, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – There is need to re-introduce the Health Insurance Bill in Parliament to ensure affordable health care for all Kenyans, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.
Mr Musyoka said it was high time the Cabinet revives efforts that can enable Kenyans have access to affordable health care.
Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu who was present commended the VP for supporting her when she recently introduced the Bill in parliament, saying he was committed to ensuring that Kenyans were relieved of the high cost of the health care.
"It was really impressing that the VP stood by me when I tabled the motion in Parliament. These are the kind of leaders who are committed to solving the problems facing the people that we need in this country," said Mrs Ngilu.
The Bill caused a storm after it was introduced by Mrs Ngilu in 2003. Among those who opposed it was the Federation of Kenya Employers who said it would be too costly.
The Bill was passed by Parliament in December 2004 but was rejected by President Kibaki citing concerns from private hospitals and employers as well as its cost to the Government.
Mrs Ngilu expressed concern over the high cost of health care and called for ways and means of correcting the situation.
She said legislators should emulate Mr Musyoka and support efforts aimed at ensuring that Kenyans have access to affordable medical care.
Mrs Ngilu said it is only through the re-introduction and the subsequent enactment of her Health Insurance Bill that all Kenyans could access to affordable health care.
Mr Musyoka said that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) caters for the needs of Kenyans exclusive of the health insurance.
The leaders made the remarks on Thursday evening at a Nairobi hotel when they presided over two separate fund-raisers to cater for medical bills for Philip Cheruiyot from Keiyo and mzee Kinyili from Kitui who are set to undergo kidneys transplants in India.
"It is discouraging that the health care is becoming too expensive for Kenyans and it is only through the enactment of Health Insurance Bill that the people can afford health care,’’ he said.
He said he was in good working relations with the Water and Irrigation Minister unlike it is perceived.
"You will never see me fighting my sister Ngilu. We have resolved to work with her among other Ukambani leaders for the sake of development in the region," he said.
Mrs Ngilu on her part dismissed claims that she was not in good working relationship with Mr Musyoka saying they had resolved to forget their political differences for the common good of the people.
"We are united in matters of development. We cannot afford to clash at the expense of serving our people who are in dire need of our services," said Ngilu.
Mrs Ngilu said development matters are a collective responsibility where leaders irrespective of their political parties must work together for the sake of unity and accelerated development.
Also present was Keiyo North MP Lucas Chepkitony.