Abuja – The National Assembly has commenced the process of repealing the existing National Health Insurance Act to come up with a law that will meet the health needs of Nigerians.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ifeanyi Okowa, made this known at the ongoing Centenary Law Summit in Abuja on Thursday.
Okowa said as part of plans to expedite action on the new Act, it had gone through first and second reading as well as other processes required to pass it into law.
“We are already working on the National Health Insurance Act. We are repealing the old Act and coming up with a new one.
“Right now, it has gone through the first and second reading and we conducted a public hearing. We are also making our reports ready in order to bring it back to the Senate.
“The essence is to expand the Act in order to make provision for social health insurance that involves the private and the organised private sector.
“The Act will provide for special schemes like the vulnerable group fund that will cater for the elderly, the unemployed and children under five as well as pregnant women and the disabled.
“So, before the end of the year, we will have completed the process and it will be signed into law,’’ he said.
Okowa said a new health insurance law became necessary, following the exclusion of people in the informal sector from the scheme.
According to him, most of the people in the informal sector are those at the grassroots, who requires more health care.
“Health insurance is beyond those in the public sector, it is beyond those in the organised private sector because a greater number of Nigerians are outside this sector, they are in the informal sector so how are we going to take care of them?
“These are the people we must take care of because they are the people that are the lower level at the bracket and we need to begin to help them organise themselves,’’ he said.
The senator reiterated the need to guarantee the health of Nigerians in order to guarantee their right to life. (NAN)