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If you ask a big question in the headline, answer it

The Business Daily on January 19 asked a big question in a headline, then did not answer it.

“What next after State gets nod to roll out healthcare programme?” said the heading of a story by Sam Kiplagat.

The Court of Appeal had just overturned a recent High Court order that effectively put on ice President William Ruto’s effort to implement the elusive Universal Health Care. In the wake of three new proposed funds replacing Kenya’s 58-year-old National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the uncertainty created with the funds’ botched rollout triggered chaos in the nation’s healthcare system. Millions of Kenyans stopped paying their monthly premiums, media reported. Suddenly, health services to some 17 million people could not be guaranteed, this Business Daily story said.

The question that this story asked in the heading, therefore, was of huge public interest. The appellate court allowed President Ruto’s Universal Health Care initiative to proceed? Great! What should happen next?

If a reporter wrote nothing else, he was obligated to find answers to this question. The public depended on it.

Will government start covering treatment for patients in limbo since the uncertainty over the defunct NHIF started? Should Kenyans start paying into the three new funds? How much? Where should they pay? How long will the rollout take? And many more questions.

But no. The story talked about everything under the sun except to answer the question. It detailed the courts’ rulings. It described the three funds. It regurgitated information about deduction rates that the set of three new healthcare laws in 2023 has proposed — 2.7 per cent of gross wages, etcetera.

But the story did not answer with any clarity the immediate question posed in the heading, “what next?”

So, why did they even ask the equation? Ladies and gentlemen of the press, if you ask a big question in the headline, answer it.

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