The DA says the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill will nationalise healthcare and create additional tax burden for South Africans.

The DA has been reacting to the NHI bill tabled in parliament on Thursday. It says there are some elements that are problematic with the NHI bill, such as the nationalisation of healthcare, the additional tax burden and the removal of choice of health provider.

The NHI is a health financing model which aims to provide quality healthcare to all South Africans.

The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube says, “The fact that the bill makes for the establishment of the national health insurance fund which will effectively be a public entity or a state-owned enterprise. We believe that this fund the fact that it will be managed by the minister and the board that is appointed by the minister will really make it vulnerable to grand corruption at the expense of the nation. The second thing is the nationalisation of healthcare and the clear aversions of provincial powers.

The Freedom Front Plus says government’s plans to forge ahead with the National Health Insurance will cost South Africa dearly. It says it warned government against the NHI, saying it will force experienced medical professionals to leave the country.

The party’s Phillip van Staden says, “We are very unhappy about the NHI bill that the minister presented. It’s like he is planning to get rid of medical aids in this country and that will have a devastating effect on the economy of this country which this country cannot afford. SA taxpayers will be smothered in this NHI as the taxpayer cannot afford a new tax system on them upon other tax systems in this country.”

Meanwhile, labour movement Cosatu has welcomed the tabling of what it calls – the ‘long awaited’ National Health Insurance Bill.

Cosatu Parliamentary Liaison Officer Matthew Parks says, “Cosatu is supporting the National Health Insurance Bill, because the current situation is not sustainable. You can’t have Public Health Care at around R250 billion a year covering 84-percent of society. You have got on another hand private health care also with an equal amount of R250 billion catering for about 16% of society. So, the rich are taken well care of and the poor are left to die of easily preventable diseases.”

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