This study analyzes the proposed amendments of the health insurance system in Egypt from a human rights perspective. It starts by outlining the international human rights law standards of the right to health concluding that Egypt has an obligation under international human rights treaties to which it is party to provide a public health insurance system.

The study then addresses the failures of the current health insurance system in Egypt to fulfill the right to health on a non-discriminatory basis arguing that the exclusion of the majority of Egyptians on the basis of employment status or enrollment at school is discriminatory; the differential treatment among beneficiaries disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, namely pensioners, widows, and pre-school children; and that the system is insensitive to the needs of vulnerable groups. It then deals with two specific proposed amendments.

The first is the governmental proposed amendment which depends on the separation between financing and service provision and the limitation of the benefit package offered to beneficiaries to a basic package of preventive and primary healthcare services.

The other proposal is submitted by the Chairman of the Committee on Health and Environmental Affairs at the Egyptian People's Assembly. The draft law offers universal coverage to all Egyptians with a comprehensive benefit package of preventive, curative and rehabilitative healthcare services. It argues that the governmental proposed amendment in its current form will achieve discriminatory results especially with respect to poorer segments of society; be insensitive to the needs of vulnerable groups especially older persons and persons with disabilities; and will constitute a retrogressive measure prohibited under the ICESCR. The study measures the proposed amendments on the scale of international human rights standards especially the right to health, with references to the right to social security and non-discrimination. It relies on the ICESCR protection of health with reference to the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights.


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Jeff Redding

Committee Member 1

Jeff Redding

Committee Member 2

Enid Hill

Committee Member 3

Naz Modirzadeh

Document Type



101 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Health insurance

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Health care reform


The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to thesisadmin@aucegypt.edu

Call Number

Thesis 2005/36