Editorials

Ex-MPs should pay for own medical insurance

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MPs during a session at Parliament chambers. PHOTO | FILE

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Summary

  • The proposal to give former MPs free medical insurance covers for life is as egregious as it is insulting to a majority of Kenyans who can’t access, let alone afford, decent healthcare.
  • That MPs are pushing for the enhanced entitlements is not surprising.
  • Time and again they have shown that the only welfare they care about most is their own and that they will go to any length to ensure that they continue to live lavish lifestyles in and out of office at taxpayer expense.

The proposal to give former MPs free medical insurance covers for life is as egregious as it is insulting to a majority of Kenyans who can’t access, let alone afford, decent healthcare.

The National Assembly committee chaired by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni is seeking a review of the Parliamentary Pension Act to ensure that former MPs continue to enjoy taxpayer-funded medical covers just like former presidents, former deputy presidents, former vice-presidents, former chief justices, and former speakers of both Houses.

That MPs are pushing for the enhanced entitlements is not surprising. Time and again they have shown that the only welfare they care about most is their own and that they will go to any length to ensure that they continue to live lavish lifestyles in and out of office at taxpayer expense.

They must not be allowed to have their way on this issue for two reasons. First, the country can’t afford the cost of covering the hundreds of MPs who fail to be re-elected every five years.

The Auditor-General’s reports, documenting the expenditure incurred keeping our former presidents, former vice-presidents, former chief justices and other former State officers comfortable in retirement, have often evoked public outcry. Adding the former MPs to that list will be an even harder pill to swallow.

More importantly, our MPs are underserving of the covers. Kenyans elected them to push for the improvement of their welfare, including healthcare.

However, they have not delivered on this mandate. If they had, every Kenyan would be able to access decent affordable healthcare. But knowing the deplorable situation that exists, they now seek to give themselves the enhanced covers.

Since they’ve made their bed, they should lie on it by paying for the kind of enhanced covers they want like the rest of us. Being among the world’s highest-paid legislators, it shouldn’t be difficult.

With the next election about a year away, there is still time for them to get it right by pushing for the establishment of the much-touted universal healthcare and ensure that the National Hospital Insurance Fund works not only for all Kenyans.