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Kenya : Court lifts orders barring Ruto's social health insurance fund

Kenya : Court lifts orders barring Ruto's social health insurance fund
Kenya President William Ruto speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 U.N.   -  
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Peter Dejong/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Kenya’s Court of Appeal has given the green light to the controversial Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), overturning a prior ban. President William Ruto champions SHIF as a vital policy to offer affordable healthcare to all Kenyans, but it has faced criticism from those who view it as a new tax.

Court Lifts Orders Barring Ruto's Social Health Insurance FundThe SHIF's rollout was halted in November by the High Court following a petition from businessman Joseph Enock Aura, challenging certain aspects of the scheme.

The SHIF replaces the long-standing National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), which suffered from corruption-related losses. On Friday, a three-judge bench lifted the ban, emphasizing that the suspension posed a "real and present danger to the health rights of countless citizens."

However, the court suspended sections mandating compulsory registration to the scheme. Although workers are now required to contribute 2.75% of their salaries to the new health fund, the law does not address the situation of those unable to afford contributions. President Ruto assured that his government would cover the costs for such individuals.

Critics argue that the 2.75% deduction is a substantial increase compared to what they paid to the NHIF, especially considering recent hikes in fuel prices and living costs. Concerns also linger about the allocation of funds, with fears that administrative expenses may overshadow direct healthcare costs.

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