The Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia FFTUZ says President Edgar Lungu’s openness for dialogue over the National Health Insurance Bill is an opportunity to include the informal sector and cushion the premium.

On May Day, President Lungu told trade unions that the Health Insurance Bill which he recently signed into law was not cast in concrete and could be amended through parliament.

And in a statement to News Diggers! in Lusaka, Thursday, FFTUZ president Chingati Msiska stated that he was elated by President Edgar Lungu’s openness to dialogue over the matter.

“The Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia is happy that government is open to dialogue over the national health insurance bill. Federation President, Mr Chingati Msiska was commenting on the statement made by the republican president, where the head of state assured the labor movement that there was still room for dialogue over the recently assented to national health insurance bill. the president said this during the 2018 Labor Day celebrations in Lusaka. There have been concerns raised over the premium contribution to be made by the workers. There is still room to further reduce the 2% premium on health insurance, so that there is no further deductable burden on the workers. The informal sector can still come in and help to cushion this premium, given that national health insurance shall not only benefit the workers alone, because the objective of this scheme is to provide for universal access to quality insured health care services for Zambians,” read the statement.

“It is important to realize that social health insurance schemes, especially in both low and middle income countries, seek to remove financial barriers to receiving an acceptable level of health care and requires citizens to share in the cost of care for the sick; therefore the element of cross-subsidy is essential.”

He noted that health care had become too expensive for ordinary Zambians.

“the cost of health care in this country is very high and this insurance scheme shall help many people have access to quality health care. The labour movement is on record calling for the restructuring of the health care costing in the country, as this had become too expensive for the ordinary citizen. we are alive to the fact that both private hospitals and insurance companies are in business and need to generate profits but this must not take prominence over the health of a human being,” read Msiska’s statement.