A Kenyan has filed two petitions challenging the Social Health Insurance and the Digital Health Acts arguing that they are discriminatory, unclear to the beneficiaries, and infringe on the confidentiality and privacy of Kenyans.
In a petition filed at a High court in Nairobi on October 20, Dominic Masinya Oreo argued that the Social Health Insurance Act is laden with ill-informed recommendations and obscurity that are against the constitution.
“It is unclear and unsustainable how the proposed Social Health Insurance scheme will be financed through premium contributions which are unreliable for healthcare resource mobilization in a country with substantial poverty,” Masinya stated
“The Social Health Insurance Act relies on voluntary premium contributions and basing entitlement on contributions excludes many who are unable to pay, entrenches inequalities.”
President William Ruto signing the Health Bills into Law on October 19,2023
According to Masinya, the Social Health Insurance Act fails to clarify whether the newly introduced health funds, the Primary Health Care Fund and the Emergency and Chronic Care Fund will benefit all Kenyans, or exclude others.
He further states that the scheme does not provide mechanisms and reliable ways to classify members, calling on the court to quash the Social Health Insurance Act for failing to adhere to foundational tenets of the law.
The petitoner also claimed that the Health Insurance Act would interfere with the operations of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and therefore render many NHIF employees jobless with Masinya demanding that the court order a halt to the act to salvage the fate of the NHIF employees.
In his other petition on the Digital Health Act, Masinya faults the act for interference with the privacy and confidentiality of many Kenyans, and further criticized the act for failing to clarify data handling, particularly addressing concerns related to data misuse.
“The act lacks provisions on international data transfers, defining safeguards for cross-border data flows, and adhering to international standards to prevent data compromise,” read part of Masinya’s petition.
The petitioner demands that the court prohibit the Ministry of Health from implementing the Social Health Insurance and the Digital Health Acts.
On Thursday, October 19, President Ruto signed the Social Health Insurance Act, Digital Health Act, Primary Healthcare Act, and the Facility Improvement Financing Act into law at Nairobi’s State House after the National Assembly passed the bills on Tuesday.
Photo of President Ruto in Kericho Green Stadium during the Mashujaa day celebrations on October 20, 2023