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Public Opposes Zimbabwe's Proposed National Health Insurance Scheme

Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health and Public Service, Labor and Social welfare, held an open meeting Thursday, to give the public and other stakeholders an opportunity to share their views about the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme.

The government, together with the National Social Security Authority, had hoped to launch the insurance scheme in July, despite objections from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, other stakeholders and the general public, who are concerned that the scheme would further strain Zimbabwe's workers.

The proposed insurance scheme, NSSA officials say, will co-exist with private medical aid schemes, and by paying only 25-percent of their current contributions to their existing medical aid schemes, workers would receive the same benefits offered under the current Basic Cover Medical Aid Scheme.

NSSA had argued that the current private health schemes only cover 30-percent of the workers, leaving the remaining 70-percent uninsured, and without access to affordable treatment in the event of a health crisis.

Critics, however, said workers are already burdened with a 3% National AIDS Levy, and argued that a further 5% deduction towards the National Health Insurance Scheme, would leave workers poorer.

Chairman, Blessing Chebundo, of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that many who attended Thursday’s meeting, opposed the timing of the proposed launch, saying the economy is worse off now, than when the scheme was first proposed in 1991.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...