South Africa-Health-Insurance

Ramaphosa rallies support for proposed healthcare fund

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday called on South Africans to rally behind the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme to ensure that it is implemented for the benefit of all in the country.

Ramaphosa said this as the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health’s hearings on the NHI Bill wound up its public consultations in the country.

He said it was a travesty that access to decent and quality health care in the country depended on a person’s ability to pay for medical costs.

This violated citizens’ constitutional rights to good health care, Ramaphosa said.

The NHI Bill seeks to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

This would be achieved by providing a health financing system designed to pool funds to ensure that the use of health services does not result in financial hardship for individuals and their families.

This means that every South African will have a right to access comprehensive healthcare services free of charge at the point of use at accredited health facilities such as clinics, hospitals and private health practitioners.

According to Ramaphosa, South Africa has enough resources to enable every citizen to have standardised quality health care, and the introduction of the NHI would be among the most far-reaching acts of social transformation in the country since 1994.

He bemoaned the existence of two parallel systems in the country that are highly unequal and are based purely on one’s ability to access private medical insurance.

Describing the situation as inefficient and unjust, Ramaphosa urged citizens to move away from a culture of self-interest and embrace the spirit of Ubuntu (humanity) or solidarity as envisioned in the constitution.

In this regard, he said his government would not be reckless in implementing the NHI once the bill is signed into law, with the aim of covering the whole country with some health insurance by 2025. 

NM/jn/APA

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