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Expat health charges ruling in Kuwait delayed until 4th March

The appeals court has postponed the petition seeking hike in health charges filed by a Kuwaiti lawyer until 4th March.

The delay came to allow the government to submit its defense in the case filed after the health ministry considerably increased health charges at public hospitals only for expats, avoiding nationals. The lower court had rejected the case, saying it was the right of health ministry to increase charges in its facilities. The new charges got effective in October, with some charges having jumped several-fold.

Lawyer Hashem Al-Rafel, in his challenge to the lower court, mentioned that the court had ignored his arguments, which stated that the decision to increase health charges was unconstitutional and violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for equality among people, irrespective of their nationality and creed. He emphasized that such a decision also violates medical practice laws.

Refai emphasized before the appeals court that the decision is also illegal as raising medical charges requires a law and not a ministerial decision, as per the National Assembly law in 1995. He told the appeals court that the lower court overlooked his arguments, and called for a correction to the judgement.

The Assembly in 1995 issued a decision, stating that the government cannot raise charges on public services without a law by the Assembly. That law did not make exceptions based on nationality.

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