More pain as Court of Appeal overturns order blocking new 2.75pc Health Fund levy

Ruto Health Laws

President William Ruto affixes the public seal during the assent of the Universal Health Coverage Bills as his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha (right), Attorney General Justin Muturi (2nd right), and other stakeholders watch at State House, Nairobi on October 19, 2023. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • CS Nakhumicha moved to the Court of Appeal seeking to have the suspension temporarily lifted.
  • The Cabinet Secretary said the blockade created a vacuum since NHIF has since been replaced.

The government has scored a big win after the Court of Appeal lifted an order, barring the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Fund. 

The ruling, which was delivered on Friday afternoon, came following an appeal by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha.

"We think that given what has been sworn by the CS there is a real and present danger to the health rights of countless citizens who are not parties to the litigation pending before our courts. We are persuaded that the confusion, the lacuna and the risk and harm to citizens pending the hearing and determination of the appeal is a price too dear to pay, and it would have the effect of rendering the appeal nugatory," the appellate court said in its ruling..

"We hereby suspend the orders of the High Court restraining the implementation and or enforcement of The Social Health Insurance Act, 2023, The Primary Health Care Act, 2023 and The Digital Health Act, 2023," the court said.

The implementation of the Act was stopped in November last year following a petition by Joseph Enock Aura. 

CS Nakhumicha moved to the appellate court and pleaded with the judges to lift the suspension, arguing that the suspension created a vacuum and confusion in the health sector as NHIF has since been replaced.

Arguing that the suspension had created confusion in the health sector, the CS moved to the Court of Appeal pleading with the judges to temporarily lift the suspension, pending the hearing of the appeal. 

She said the blockade created a vacuum since the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has since been replaced while the succeeding Act was stopped. 

The CS further submitted that millions of patients who depend on the NHIF for treatment cannot access the services, something that is interfering with the government’s plan to implement the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme, and the provision of quality and affordable healthcare for all Kenyans.

“The applicant is aggrieved by the order and seeks to lodge an appeal before this honourable court to set aside the said orders so as to seal the legal vacuum and afford millions of Kenyans access to healthcare,” Ms Nakumicha said in the application.