MP CALLS FOR REVIEW … HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 28: Rapporteur of the Health Committee of the National Assembly, MP Khalid Al-Otaibi has called for postponing the implementation of the decision to raise the charges for expat health services to early next year saying there is need to take into consideration some charges which are announced by the Ministry of Health, reports Al-Anba daily.
Al-Otaibi told the daily, “We are with the increase in fees for health services to the expatriates to keep pace with the increase in the price of medical devices and equipment, but we must take into account the humanitarian dimension and the average income of a large section of residents.” Al-Otaibi said part of the list of health fees for expatriates needs to be reconsidered, especially since some of the medical examination fees cannot be sustained by a fairly large number of people in the country.
Al-Otaibi pointed out the fees for some of the services announced by the ministry outweigh the prices in some neighboring countries and even the prices in force in some European countries, which necessitate postponing for further study the application of the decision to increase the fees.
Health committee member Dr Hamoud Al-Khudair said the meeting with the Health Minister is possible to reduce some fees despite the existence of an agreement to impose them. MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei preferred the health insurance as an alternative to increasing health fees for expatriates and to be associated with residence permit.
Al-Tabtabaei said the application of health insurance will clearly be a substitute for increasing health fees for expatriates. He called for the treatment of expatriates to be included in the health insurance related to residence, which is paid by the resident upon renewal of the residence permit.
MP Hamad Al-Harshani said the increase in fees for expatriates is an important demand, but it is better that the increase is not effective immediately and does not create discrimination between them, taking into account the conditions of Arab labor.
MP Adel Al-Damkhi said MPs should be informed about any government project to increase the fees for expatriates. He said that the issue is not just an increase in fees, but that it needs to be studied carefully and to examine the effects. MP Abdullah Fahad said addressing the imbalance in the population structure is not done by imposing fees on basic services such as health for expatriates.
This is not a solution, because the solution begins by improving people’s lives and improving their jobs and then asking them to pay fees. Fahad said that there is no objection to the imposition of taxes in the case of presence of a complete system.
In the same context, MP Yousef Al- Fadalah said the increase in health fees for expatriates is not natural, exaggerated or illogical, but the expatriates will not be able to afford it. He stressed raising the health fees for expatriates is because of pressure on medical services and some people who come on visit visas to avail of the health facilities because of low costs, but that does not mean raising fees to this extent.
Al-Fadalah stressed the increases should be reasonable and it should take into account the low income of expatriate workers. He pointed out this will be one of the issues that will be discussed during the Health Committee meeting soon.