The Health ministry has accused the Attorney General’s office of altering a proposed amendment Bill to remove the Federation of Kenya Employers, Knut and Cotu from the NHIF board.
Mary Wangai, a director of legislative drafting at the ministry, said the clause locking out the key stakeholders did not originate from the Health team.
“We were surprised to see the clause. It did not come from us. We only saw it when it was tabled on the floor of the House,” she told Health committee on Thursday.
Wangai appeared before the National Assembly’s Committee on Health chaired by Keses MP Mishra Kiprop.
The amendment, which is contained in the Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment, seeks to change the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Act.
The proposed changes will shake up the composition of NHIF board by removing representation from FKE, Cotu, and the person nominated by both Knut and Kuppet.
Knut deputy secretary Hesbon Otieno, who made presentation before the committee, opposed the proposed changes.
He said teachers are central players in funding NHIF and should not be sidelined from the day to day running of the insurance scheme.
“It is our considered view that removing representation of teachers unions as KMA, Cotu, FKE and the other civil society will significantly weaken NHIF’s oversight board. We reject the amendments.”
Otieno told the committee that the changes are ill-conceived and an ill-motive to replace the workers bodies with nominees by the Health CS.
“The plot here is to give the government a firm grip of the fund that collects in excess of Sh40 billion from the workers annually,” the unionist said.
NHIF CEO Geoffrey Mwangi and Health CAS Rashid Aman supported the retention of the organisations in the NHIF board.
“In line with the policy, it will be important to retain the current key stakeholders, on the boards as provided in the current act,” Aman told the committee.
“However, each organisation should be requested to nominate three candidates from whom the CS will make the appointments from the organisations.”
Mwangi said the stakeholders will ensure successful implementation of health insurance.
“We want the key stakeholders to remain in the NHIF board. We are interested in making sure that Kenyans enjoy universal healthcare,” Mwangi said.
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris challenged Knut officials to prepare data of the teachers and their dependants.
She wants details of how much they contribute to the kitty annually and justify why they should continue being in the board.
“You must furnish this committee with tangible justification why Knut should continue being in the board and you must provide data on your members.”
The proposed changes also seek to amend the Act to enable the fund receive contributions from the post-retirement medical funds or employers in respect to retired employees and from donations, gifts or grants.