FNC questions minister over delays in health insurance law

Four years after it was first discussed, the FNC asks Dr Anwar Gargash why it is taking so long to pass and implement a law that would offer all Emiratis healthcare coverage.

FNC member Ahmed Al Amash (RAK) raised questions over the delay in implementing full health cover for Emiratis. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // A law to give all UAE citizens full health insurance is still being drafted after four years, the Federal National Council has heard.

At Tuesday’s session, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC and Foreign Affairs, told the council that the Ministry of Finance was still putting the law together and studying it.

“No doubt we will follow up on this. It is an important issue for all Emiratis,” Dr Gargash told the council.

He said the state was working to provide the best care for its citizens.

Ahmed Al Amash (Ras Al Khaimah) asked the minister why the law was taking so long, as this and earlier councils had sought it for several years.

“Since 2009, members have been following up on the issue,” Mr Al Amash said.

“At every event bringing together members and ministers they would enquire about this. Why? Because this insurance is very important.”

He said he could not understand why the ministry was still drafting the law if the Cabinet had directed them to do so in 2009.

“Does the law need all this time?” Mr Al Amash asked. “We want the minister to give us a reasonable reason for the delay to pass on to Emiratis.”

Dr Gargash told the member that legislation takes a long time to draft and pass.

He agreed that the process should be quicker and the law should have been passed by now, but that the UAE, like other countries, takes time to pass its laws.

“I will conclude by saying that the health file is one of the most important in the country,” he said. “We can see this through the President’s close follow-up on it.”

Mr Al Amash said the length of the process was understandable but Emiratis living outside Abu Dhabi and Dubai were in urgent need of better health services.

He said there should be a department at the Ministry of Health to help Emiratis when their insurance was not enough to cover treatment.

Abu Dhabi citizens are covered by Thiqa, but their compatriots have no comprehensive health cover.