National Health insurance law must fall


-It requires every person in Zambia, employeed or not including prisoners to contribute money or face imprisonment

– in addition to egg, borehole, rent and other inhuman taxes

SEAN Tembo has called for a total countrywide boycott of the National Health Insurance Act.

Tembo says the PF government’s decision to bulldoze the National Health Insurance Bill through Parliament and enact it into law despite objections by Zambians was “arrogance of the highest order and a total disregard of the citizenry in the country’s governance”.

President Edgar Lungu has signed into law the National Health Insurance Bill, which faced massive resistance and rejection by workers’ bodies and employers owing to lack of consensus.

The Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) and Zambia Congress of Trade Unions had opposed the presentation of the National Health Insurance Bill to Parliament without meaningful consultations with key stakeholders.

The National Health Insurance Act now will create the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) that will have the legal mandate to collect money from all workers and employers through the payroll and from every Zambian aged 18 years and above, including prisoners.

The money to be collected would be used by the government to provide medical services to Zambians through government health institutions.

ZFE president Wesley Chishimba expressed concern that if passed, no Zambian would be allowed to receive any medical service in any government health centre without a financial subscription to the National Health Insurance Authority.

But Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya urged people not to politicise the National Health Insurance because the scheme would benefit the Zambians.

Dr Chilufya said the National Health Insurance would ensure that all Zambians access to affordable health care.

The Bill was finally passed in the last sitting of the National Assembly and President Lungu has since signed it into law.

Commenting on the development, Tembo said it was arrogance for the PF and its government to proceed to enact the bill into law despite opposition.

“It has now become evident that the continued electoral victories of the PF in by-elections, despite their mediocre performance in the running of the affairs of this Republic, has given them a sense of invisibility and an aura of strong-headedness to do as they please, despite the wishes and cries of the citizenry,” Tembo stated in a statement.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, our contention against the now National Health Insurance Act is Section 13, which makes it mandatory for each and every citizen to contribute to the National Health Insurance Fund on a monthly basis, regardless of whether a citizen is formally employed, self-employed or indeed unemployed. Once implemented, this particular section of the NHI Act will constitute a direct and arbitrary tax on the Zambian people who are already heavily taxed at the moment.”

He asked the “PF and its government” what they use “our taxpayers’ money” on, given that Zambians directly pay for all essential government services.

“For example, just to drive on the roads, our motorists pay fuel levy, road tax, carbon tax and toll gates. Therefore, the question is where does the PF and its government take the other taxpayers’ money collected through Pay As You Earn, Value Added Tax etc? What moral standard does President Lungu apply when he and his government waste our taxpayers money on useless things such as $42 million wheelbarrow looking like fire tenders, and yet still ask our citizens to pay for their healthcare through the National Health Insurance Act?” asked Tembo.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress, our position remains that this National Health Insurance Act is immoral and constitutes a total abuse of the citizens of this Republic and must therefore be rejected with the contempt that it deserves. We therefore call upon a countrywide total boycott of the National Health Insurance Act by all well-meaning citizens of this Republic. If the PF and its government want, let them enforce the NHI Act on their members and supporters, which is the only group of citizens that is thriving economically. It must be noted that the Constitution of this Republic allows citizens to reject arbitrary and draconian laws, and in our view as Patriots for Economic Progress, this NHI Act is one such draconian and arbitrary law.”

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