Kagwe, who appeared before a Parliamentary Committee on Appointments chaired by house speaker Justin Muturi, asked that Kenyans be impelled to fully support the universal health care rollout. He further proposed that monthly NHIF deductions be in proportion to income level.
The publication reported that those in the informal sector pay Ksh 500 while members of the public in formal employment pay between Ksh 500 and Ksh1,700 monthly to facilitate healthcare at accredited facilities.
Health Cabinet Secretary nominee Mutahi Kagwe when he appeared for vetting before the National Assembly Committee on Appointments chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
“There are many Kenyans who cannot afford to pay for NHIF and the ablest must be made to support the less abled. It is a principle of social democracy,” Kagwe told the committee.
“We need to think outside the box. Those earning more should be prepared to pay more towards insurance,” he added.
Kikuyu member of parliament Kimani Ichung’wa and a member of the parliamentary committee on health, stated that those who earn more than Ksh 0.5 million a month should pay more and increase the funds raised by NHIF to facilitate healthcare.
“Would this include people like me who earn more than Ksh 0.5 million to contribute more than Ksh 1,700 and help cushion those not unable considering that the economy is not doing well?” Ichung’wah posed.
The ideology behind the planned deduction increment reflects on a similar proposal that was fronted by incumbent Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o a decade ago, then cabinet minister for health. He lobbied legislators for proportional salary NHIF pay but it was shot down.
Nyong’o had proposed that those earning above Ksh 100,000 contribute Ksh 2,000 monthly while those who earned less than Ksh 6,000 pay Ksh 150, in a bit to subsidise healthcare.
It was reported that NHIF recorded 4.3 million members at the end of October 2019, with the low number blamed on the slow economic growth and unemployment.
Kagwe’s proposal is a mponth after 40 state agencies spought partnership with new insurers, a move that will reportedly slash NHIF’s annual premiums by more than Ksh 1.9 billion.
National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) headquarters in Nairobi.