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Court temporarily halts implementation of Social Health Insurance Act 2023

The high court has stopped the implementation of the newly enacted Social Health Insurance Act 2023.

The judiciary has intervened by issuing a suspension on the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act 2023 until February 7, 2024.

The decision was handed down by Justice Chacha Mwita in response to a case filed by activist Joseph Aura and with the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists Dentists Union (KMPDU) and Kenya Medical Association (KMA) listed as interested parties.

Justice Mwita’s order explicitly states, “…a conservatory order is hereby issued restraining the respondents (President William Ruto, CSs in the Ministry of Health and Information, the Attorney General, Commission for Revenue Collection, The National Assembly, and the Senate), their agents, and anyone acting on their directives from implementing and/or enforcing The Social Health Insurance Act, 2023; The Primary Health Care Act, 2023; and the Digital Health Act, 2023 until February 7, 2024.”

The court has further granted a seven-day window for the respondents to file their responses.

Criticism against the Social Health Act surfaced last week when medical professionals argued that it violated the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concerning the provision of comprehensive medical cover by the employer.

Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary General, Davji Bhimji, expressed concerns, stating that the Act displayed discriminatory tendencies towards civil servants and the general Kenyan population.

“The Social Bill is a breach of our CBA 2017, and we can assure you that we shall resist! The civil servants and county employees will push back any attempts to take away our benefits,” emphasized Davji Bhimji.

“With the just enacted Social Health Insurance Act 2023, the mandatory statutory deductions will increase 3 folds from KSh 1700 to 5000 plus the medical allowance of Kshs 3500, each of our members and other civil servants will contribute a total of Kshs 8500 per month or Kshs 102,000 annually without the comprehensive medical cover, nor assured access to care,” Atellah stated.