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NHI will be bigger than Eskom and SAA combined – so why aren’t people more worried about it?

Staff Writer19 July 2018

Medical insurance


Trade union Solidarity says that the ideal scenario of giving all citizens decent access to health care – which the National Health Insurance Bill (NHI Bill) wants to put forward – will not materialise and, in reality, will have the exact opposite effect.

In June, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi  presented the National Health Insurance Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill to the media.

The bills will pave the way for more access to medical healthcare through National Health Insurance (NHI), and represent a massive shake-up to both the governmental and the private healthcare systems.

According to Solidarity Research Institute researcher, Morné Malan, the public seems not to be sufficiently concerned about the drastic impact implementation of this system will have.

“In terms of government’s own models, our economy is by no means growing fast enough to fund the proposal. Moreover, all pilot projects undertaken so far have failed dismally. The NHI amounts to nothing less than a de facto nationalisation of South Africa’s health care system,” Malan said.

He said that if this bill is approved, the NHI will become the largest state enterprise in South Africa’s history. “To put it into perspective – the NHI would be bigger than Eskom and SAA put together, and judged by the current state of affairs at both Eskom and the SAA this move bodes ill for the future of health care.”

Solidarity said that the NHI will deny health practitioners and other medical service providers the opportunity of exercising a choice when it comes to where to work and for what fees to work. Moreover, these practitioners will have to rely on government to pay them for their services.

“We have already seen the dismal state of affairs the Compensation Fund is in and how poorly other government funds are run. That is why there is such major concern about practitioners being paid in time,” Malan said.

“In essence, this de facto nationalisation of our healthcare means that the country’s health services will be run by the very same bureaucrats who had to deal with the Life Esidimeni tragedy and the Charlotte Maxeke disaster,” he said.