The government’s attempt to persuade the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court ruling that stopped the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) was unsuccessful as a panel of three judges rejected their request.
The court announced that it will give its verdict on Friday, January 19, 2023, which will decide the fate of the Social Health Insurance Act, 2023 that establishes SHIF as a replacement for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
The government, through Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, argued that the High Court ruling had violated the constitutional right of many Kenyans to access medical care.
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President William Ruto said: “We will reduce NHIF for the low-income earners, the vegetable sellers and the others, from Ksh.500 to Ksh.300. We have already taken the law to parliament, parliament has passed it, but some people have taken the matter to court so that the citizen continues to pay Ksh.500.”
Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, representing Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha, said that the court orders had deprived many Kenyans of medical care since the NHIF Act was repealed by the Social Health Insurance Act, 2023 and urged the court not to let legal battles deny Kenyans their constitutional right.
The Attorney General, through his lawyer, also appealed to the court saying that many patients were suffering and that the existing orders should be lifted while awaiting the court’s decision.
But Harrison Kinyanjui, representing the respondents, told the court not to grant the temporary relief since the aggrieved parties had not provided evidence that a Kenyan had been denied access to healthcare.