Iraq Tackles Health Care Reform

Yassin, a specialist obstetrician, said, "We have yet to receive any draft law on insurance from the Ministry of Health, and according to our information, none of the steps in the legislation process have begun."

She adds, "What was sent to parliament in this regard is the draft of an old health care law, prepared during the previous electoral session. The Ministry of Health requested that our committee issue a statement of opinion regarding this draft, but did not request that we begin the legislative process for this parliamentary session."

The Iraqi constitution requires the legislation of a health care and social security law, but it does not specify how this legislation should be completed.

There is a conflict regarding legislative powers in Iraq between the parliament and the government. While the constitution stipulates that ratifying and writing proposals for draft laws is the exclusive right of the executive branch, it allows parliament to propose draft laws to the government, provided that the parliament does not interfere in the drafting process.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has yet to provide any statements regarding its plan to draft a social security act. An employee from the ministry noted that the main ideas for this draft are not ready yet.

Yassin said that her parliamentary committee is in contact with the Ministry of Health regarding the subject of health care. She noted, "We held several joint workshops." She adds, however, "We do not know when we will receive the draft law that is being discussed by the Ministry of Health."

She said, "According to my information, the Ministry of Health now has an old draft of this law, and it needs a lot of adjustment and work in order to be ready for discussion in parliament."

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