Nigerian Senate Amends National Health Insurance Law

The Senate, on Wednesday, amended the National Health Insurance Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2021.

The legislation was passed by the National Assembly in April last year. The red chamber at plenary considered a motion for the recommittal of some clauses.

The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), sponsored the motion for the re-committal.

The Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, read the lead debate on behalf of the Senate Leader. He recalled that the National Assembly transmitted the passed bill to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for assent on April 23, 2020.

He observed that the President, after critical examination of the bill, raised some fundamental issues, which according to him, required fresh legislative action to clauses 20, 24(2) and 25(2)(c).

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Boroffice explained that the decision of the National Assembly to amend the bill was in line with the need to address all observations raised by the President.

Accordingly, the upper chamber deleted clause 20 of the bill, which provides for third party administrators. It also amended the provisions of clause 24(2) on the implementation of the Basic Health Care Fund.

The amended clause reads, “For the purpose of subsection (1), the Authority shall implement the Basic Health Care Provision Fund as set out in the National Health Act, 2014, and any guidelines developed in that regard.”

The Senate also amended the provisions of clause 25 by deleting clause 25(c) on the Establishment and Sources of the Vulnerable Group Fund.

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The upper chamber introduced a new clause to replace the deleted ones. The new clause provides for “Special Intervention Funds allocated by Government and appropriated by the National Assembly” as a source for the Vulnerable Group Fund.

The amendment was proposed by the Chairman of the Health Committee (Secondary and Tertiary), Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), and seconded by Sadiq Umar Suleiman (Kwara North).

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