Pensioners, politicians protest new health insurance bill

More than 500 workers, pensioners, Wafd and Tagammu party leaders, and other political representatives protested in front of the People’s Assembly yesterday against the new health insurance bill. The bill is scheduled to be discussed during the current parliamentary session.

Protestors sent a memo to parliament speaker Fathy Sorour, carried by Tagammu MP Mohamed Abdel Aziz Sha’ban, demanding the rejection of the bill to avoid extra burdens on workers, pensioners, and low-income citizens.

MP al-Badry Farghaly, head of Pensioners Union, contended that the bill is part of a plan to privatize health insurance. He noted that while Egypt is moving toward privatizing health insurance, US President Barack Obama is attempting to provide public health insurance for Americans.

"The bill comes at odds with Mubarak’s declaration that attention will be given to pensioners and that no more burdens will be added," Farghaly said.

The protest was joined by members of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc, as well as independent MPs. Mohamed el-Beltagy, a Brotherhood MP, announced that council representatives support protesters in their their opposition to the bill that turns health insurance into a source of profit.

"There is nothing above the right for medication", el-Beltagy said. He noted that the bill will impose an LE120 charge for subscription to health insurace, which he said is very expensive for the majority of Egyptians. He invited the protestors to pressure the NDP members "whom the bill will be passed by." El-Beltagy said that yesterday’s demonstration came while the parliament is on holiday and called for another protest in front of the parliament that can be joined by Brotherhood members and independent MPs.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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