Wednesday, August 21, 2019
National Health Insurance (NHI).
The long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has been released and is poised to begin its passage through parliament. The Bill contains the biggest health reforms in post-apartheid South Africa and is the first piece of enabling legislation for realising the government’s ambitions for achieving universal health coverage, called NHI. The Bill signals a sharply diminished role for medical schemes, which 8.9 million people use to pre-fund access to private healthcare services.
- Given the apartheid-era legacy of inequitable access to health services, opposition to NHI will be cast as being anti-black and anti-poor.
- With little scope to raise revenue with further tax hikes without undermining compliance, NHI funding will be a perennial problem.
- Anxiety about the rates government will be willing to offer private healthcare providers could trigger an exodus of doctors and nurses.
- The NHI Bill rolls back current health rights for migrants, raising the prospects of a future legal challenge.