The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) proposes that individuals in formal employment contribute an extra two per cent to close the gaps in the health sector as opposed to the proposed National Health Insurance scheme.
The proposal is that collections be made where both the employee and employer contribute one per cent bringing the total contribution to NSSF to 17 per cent.
According to Patrick Ayota, the Deputy Managing Director of NSSF, this will not only ensure universal health coverage but will be sufficient for infrastructural development like renovation of health centres.
“If I fall sick and I seek care from a health centre III in my village, I will have all I need; there will be a nurse with all the required diagnostic equipment,” said Ayota.
Ayota said this while appearing before the Committee on Health over the proposed National Health Insurance Bill, 2019.
He explained that currently NSSF collects shs 96 billion per month and estimated that the extra two per cent fees will yield shs13 billion per month.
“If you collect this money and you deploy a billion to a health centre III, in one month you could stock 20 health centres in a district and within a year you could have renovated about 200 health centres,” said Ayota.
The Fund also proposes a one per cent charge on the minimum wage of shs130,000. This form of funding, NSSF observed will ensure quality services in public health facilities leaving private health facilities to offer specialized services.
Legislators on the Health Committee were concerned that the public may reject this proposal, thinking it is one way of government evading its core mandate on health care provision and infrastructure.
“We had a challenge with OTT; people thought we were charging them more money. This might be worse if they know their contribution will also be output to the construction of hospitals,” Kyotera District Woman MP, Hon Robinah Ssentongo said.)
Hon Robert Ntende was concerned that NSSF’s proposal loads a huge burden on citizens and proposed that the Government should take a pivotal role by making a substantial contribution.
“Our people will ask why they should shoulder this burden when it is government’s mandate,” he said.
The Committee Chairperson, Hon Michael Bukenya said that the committee will have to assess and weigh NSSF’s proposal against the proposed National Health Insurance scheme.