‘Government unlikely to allocate sufficient funds for NHI scheme’

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Health and social security systems expert professor Alex van den Heever says the government is not likely to allocate sufficient funds to the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme because of its budgetary constraints.

He says if government were to be given money it would probably go towards infrastructure development and its debt repayment.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will this afternoon sign the NHI Bill into law at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Van den Heever says the signing of the NHI Bill into law won’t address the problems in the health sector.

“The problem is that the government is in financial difficulty with a quite significant deficit and quite a large accumulated government. And the government servicing of that debt already exceeds the health budget in the public sector and exceeds total medical scheme expenditure. So, just servicing government debt already is over R400 billion a year,” adds Van den Heever.

Below is the full interview with Alex van den Heever

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will soon meet with his counterparts in the Department of Health to discuss the funding of the NHI, which he says will have to done through some form of taxation.

In an interview with SABC NewsGodongwana says the national budget had made provision for some aspects of NHI to be immediately implemented.

There are aspects of it that will not require to take some years – we will talk to colleagues in health on the process of phasing it in. You will recall in the budget speech, I mentioned one of the things we need to do is invest more in the public health system.”

“We enumerate a number of areas where we are putting money to make sure that the public health system is also ready. We have also provided grants in support of the NHI,” adds Godongwana.-Additional reporting by Tshepo Mongaoi 

The video below is reporting more on the story