The House of Representatives on Thursday expressed displeasure over the incompetence of the management team of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure effective provision of quality and affordable health care service to Nigerians across the country.

The lawmakers expressed the concerns during the debate on a motion jointly sponsored by Hon. Valentine Ayika; Hon. Gibeon Goroki; Hon. Idem Unyime Josiah; Hon. Israel Sunny Goi, Hon. Obanikoro Ibrahim; Hon. Mshelia Haruna and Hon. Waive Ejiroghene Francis.

Worried by the crisis trailing the scheme, the House stressed the need for NHIS management to direct all Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to pay, within three months, all outstanding debts owed all healthcare providers in Nigeria.

In his lead debate, Hon. Valentine Ayika who frowned at the failure of the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality and affordable health care service through the provision of affordable health insurance, as stipulated in its establishment Act.

He lamented that the Scheme which has a Presidential mandate to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2015, has “failed in that regard, as available information shows that it currently boasts of a little over 6 million enrollees as at 2019 despite regular budgetary allocations.

“The House is aware that 50% of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund which represents 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government available for the Scheme, part of which was released in May 2019, yet the scheme still fell short of its targeted objectives.

“The House is worried that despite the importance of the Scheme towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage for Nigerians, it does have a substantive Executive Secretary, but has been under the management of an ‘Overseeing Director’ appointed from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, and this has affected many critical and important operations of the Scheme.”

The lawmaker specifically expressed displeasure over: non-approval of the 2017/2018 Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) re-accreditation exercise report which has those HMOs not fit for operations but has continued to provide services despite their deficiencies.

“Non-approval of the 2018 Staff promotion exercise; with the likely consequent delay in the conduct of the 2019 exercise with the attendant staff dissatisfaction.

“Non- pragmatic approach to dealing with contentious issues with various stakeholders and delays in approval and release of revised guidelines, drug and professional service price lists which have been long overdue for review, as well as failure to conduct the periodic quality assurance and improvement exercises on Health Care Providers and Health Maintenance Organizations.

To this end, the House urged the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to ensure that private Medical Practitioners should, as a matter of urgency register their clinics with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as accredited health providers of medical services.

In the bid to ensure adherence to the motion, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Ahmed Wase who presided over the plenary session mandated the Committees on Health Institution and Healthcare Services to carry out holistic review of the NHIS to encourage more participation by Nigerians with a view to attainment of Universal Health Coverage for Nigerians and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.