Proposed increases in expat heathcare costs slammed by Kuwaiti medical professionals

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Dubai
Kuwaiti medical professionals are rejecting as racism an MP’s call for increased heathcare charges for expats.

Last week, a recently elected female member of the Kuwaiti parliament called for new restrictions for expats aimed at forcing them to buy prescription medicines from private pharmacies rather then getting them direct from hospitals following medical check-ups. MP Safa al Hashem is known for her aggressive campaign urging the government to reduce the overall number of expats in the emirate and replace them with Kuwaiti nationals.

Doctors are calling al Hashem’s suggestion racist and stating there should be no distinction between expats and Kuwaiti nationals in the fields of education and medicine, adding that blaming foreign workers for the emirate’s demographic imbalance is unfair. Those urging the government address the problem by pricing expat workers out of the market, they say, should be examining the real reasons as well as those who are abusing the system to increase their wealth.

Following the news of heathcare professionals’ rejection of al Hashem’s proposal, the Kuwaiti government issued a notice stating that clinics, public hospitals and specialist medical facilities would continue to provide prescription drugs and other medicines to expatriate patients. The notice also clarified the current charges were intended to cover the provision of medicines and were not connected with medical consultations. The statement covers the period of time between now and the inauguration of the planned initial healthcare centres and insurance-based private hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Bubble lifestyle is being citied as the reason why two-thirds of expats stay longer than they first intended. High levels of disposable income, year-long sunshine, leisure and activity destinations and endless shopping malls are given as reasons for expats to stay over and above the lengths of their original contracts. The downside of living in the Dubai Bubble is that practical matters tend to be put on the back burner and everyday reality doesn’t dawn until it’s too late for many to cope.

Source: Gulf News
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