What a Shame!
Health and life are two of the most important things for anyone and insuring one’s life and well being has become a matter of increased importance for many if not all Kenyans what with death knocking louder and more frequently at the doors of the relatively youthful, visiting us indiscriminately as always. Something seems to shift; we seem collectively jolted into consciousness whenever a person of any importance passes away or- more frequently now- when a bomb or grenade is thrown into our establishments disrupting our peace and waking us into protection mode, forcing us to take precautions.
It is an integral part of human nature to want to protect and safeguard not only our own lives but the lives of those nearest and dearest to us and when disaster or loss occur these innate instincts are heightened, we gather information about how to stay safe and fend of attacks of any kind, we force ourselves to become or stay healthy, eager to cheat death. The scary thought and finality of death draws some to search for health and more importantly life insurance, as the fragile state of life dawns on us some have the foresight to secure a lively hood for those they leave behind. This was perhaps the foresight that visited MPs John Michuki, George Saitoti and Orwa Ojode before death came calling as those they left behind will now receive 20Million KSH each (10M) each from two separate insurance companies.
Unlike the MPs most of Kenya is unable to afford health care let alone the insurance that is now of great importance to all, from the ordinary citizen to the BMW driving MP and well to do citizen what with buildings falling on us due to shoddy workmanship and road accidents still being the monster we cannot seem to tame, it seems far easier to lose one’s life than it is to preserve it and I haven’t even mentioned being kidnapped by pirates yet- which, thankfully seems to be occurring much less.
I must now be frank with you and mention that this article was motivated by an article I read recently about the upholding of ObamaCare in the US court system as constitutional.
The Affordable Care Act:
Is at its core a law which will provide insurance for all without discrimination on the basis of age or pre-existing illness, it stops companies from charging more for women’s care than men’s. It makes medicine more affordable for the old. It also allows the young –up to the age of 26- to be covered by their parents’ insurance plans. It will also serve to make insurance cheaper over the next 10 years, it is also set to make health care available to more people thus lowering its now high cost.
As I mulled over the above I wondered why anyone would say no to such a logically sound proposition, but alas the law has its naysayers especially those in the Republican Party who equate the policy to ‘congress forcing people to buy goods from private companies.’ On receiving the good news President Obama took to the TV cameras to say: “The courts affirmed a fundamental principle- that here in America, in the wealthiest nation on earth- no illness or accident should lead to any family’s fundamental ruin.”
The constitution dictates that every Kenyan has the right to health care stating unequivocally that we- merely for being citizens- are entitled to: ‘the highest attainable standard of health which includes the right to health care services, including productive health care.’ It also states that no person shall be denied emergency medical treatment.
But with the majority of hospitals suffering from being understaffed and overcrowded, doctors and nurses forced to work with equipment that’s largely under par and with the threat of heightening bill whenever you stay in hospital it is no wonder why people would rather self medicate or avoid sickness all together. But sometimes sickness and death are unavoidable and when you can no longer run from them it is time we considered modes of insurance of which there are two kinds:
· The Public kind provided by NHIF-who were in the news a few months ago for a scandal which you can read about in my previous post: I Declare This Officially...Open Season- who offer cover to those in the formal (meaning you have a regular job that provides a regular source of income) and informal sector, their spouses and children, medical cover in affiliation with 400 government facilities, inpatient cover and a comprehensive maternity package.
· The Private Kind: Where you face various choices but which is still too expensive for the vast majority of the population who live on a dollar a day and seen by many to be a preserve for the wealthy.
So as we continue to live this quickly fleeting life and as we sit down to take in our daily doses of death and devastation that is flashed in front of us day and night 24/7 by all news networks everywhere we must also take a moment to think about taking measures to protect ourselves if financially possible but if not we must cling closer to the giver of life- whatever form he may take, for we live in an unsafe time. What a shame it is then that some complain about ideas and laws that could serve all, from poor to rich without discrimination as others pass away to time or incident without securing the lives of those they leave behind.