The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes media reports that National Treasury is preparing a financing paper on the Nation Health Insurance (NHI) which is expected to detail how much the scheme will cost and how it will be funded. The DA is concerned that the Health Department published the Bill without proper consultation with National Treasury about the costs involved.

This makes it clear that the Ministers of Health and Finance are at variance with one another.

Two weeks ago, the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that NHI will be implemented regardless of the costs. However, Treasury is busy scrambling trying to figure out how this ill-conceived policy proposal will be funded.

What is now needed is clarity from the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, about the work that has been done by Treasury and the Health Department, on the funding model for NHI. It is clear that South Africa cannot afford the implementation of NHI from a fiscal perspective and that it will do little to provide Universal Health Care for our people. The DA has therefore written to Minister Mboweni to urgently request that he clarifies what Treasury’s position is in terms of the financing of this Bill.

The DA has long held that Universal Health Care is necessary. It is important that we move towards it because too many people have left behind in the past 25 years and been subjected to a poor public health system.

What is clear is that the current health system is under severe pressure from decades of mismanagement, corruption, under-investment and superfluous spending. It is, therefore, the DA’s first priority to invest in the public health system to bring it to the same level asprivate health facilities.

Contrary to the NHI, the DA’s Sizani Universal Healthcare will truly achieve providing South Africans with quality health care, thus achieving Universal Healthcare in line with global trends.

The Sizani plan would ensure the following:

  • It will be funded through the current budget envelop which would include the tax benefit afforded to medical aid clients;
  • It would strengthen primary healthcare as the interface of health with many communities;
  • It would invest heavily in the provision of maternal and child health services and the training and provision of healthcare professionals;
  • It would reinforce the powers of the provinces by ensuring that they are funded and equipped to provide quality healthcare to all

The DA will continue to take a stand against this NHI Bill in its current form and we will use every avenue available to us to ensure that this disastrous bill does not destroy the health system and the South African economy.

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