Kuwait court rejects case to cancel new Expat health fees

Manama: A lawsuit filed in Kuwait to overturn the health ministry’s decision to hike healthcare fees for foreigners has been rejected by the administrative department in the Supreme Court.

The Fatwa and Legislation Department, which pleaded on behalf of the health ministry, submitted a defence memorandum explaining the reasons for the ministry’s decision and requested the court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a lawyer, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

The case was first heard by the court in August before the implementation of the ministry’s decision on October 1.

However, it postponed first to October 4 and then to October 25 for the verdict.

The ministry attributed its decision to impose new fees for expatriates and visitors to the increase in costs for providing healthcare services such as surgeries, medical equipment, laboratories and medical supplies.

The decision was announced following a campaign by some lawmakers to charge expatriates who, they believe, were exploiting the largesse of free or cheap health ministry services in the country.

They argued that with the drop in oil prices, Kuwait could no longer afford to foot the bill and expatriates would have to pay to enjoy living in Kuwait.

However, several other lawmakers opposed the move and called for at least postponing its implementation by some months.

The MPs said the average incomes of most of the foreigners working in the country could not support the increase in health fees.

Expatriates, economists and some Kuwaiti analysts said the ministry’s move was “rash, poorly planned and unfair”.

 

More than two thirds of the total population of Kuwait of 4.4 million are foreigners.

Source credit – Gulf News

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