‘De­lay rise in ex­pat health charges’

MP CALLS FOR PRICE RE­VIEW ... HU­MAN­I­TAR­IAN CON­SID­ER­A­TION

Arab Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Agree­ment

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 AlFadalah 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.

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