Board of Healthcare Funders says private sector contribution to NHI excluded

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The Board of Healthcare Funders says the contribution of the private sector in relation to funding for the National Health Insurance (NHI) has been excluded. The organisation says while the overall goal to achieve universal healthcare is not questioned, implementation remains a concern.

The National Assembly has passed the NHI Bill which will introduce universal healthcare. However, the Bill still has to make its way through the National Council of Provinces before being sent to the president to be signed into law.

Managing Director of Board Healthcare Funders, Dr Katlego Mothudi says, “When you implement health reform measures, our approach should be holistic and should not be narrow and I think at the moment we are focusing on one bill that fulfills only one of the recommended pillars of the WHO for good health systems. There seems to be a view to exclude the private sector from their administrative of funding element. Only in the service provision is the bill mentioning the private sector as a partner. We should view the private sector, medical aid scheme, and other funders as an asset of the state that can actually be utilized.”

South Africa has set itself an ambitious target of attaining universal healthcare for all 61 million South Africans, however many questions about how the National Health Insurance will operate, remain unanswered.

Deputy Director General for NHI at the Department of Health, Dr Nicholas Crisp explains how the fund will work.

“What the fund will cover is the same package of care for everybody. That package will grow over time as the funds within NHI are increased. As those benefits are made available and paid for by the fund, you don’t need a medical scheme anymore. The medical scheme will not be allowed to cover those benefits but they may continue to pay for things that the fund is not paying for. Systematically over the coming years, we will all be treated equally.”

Better understanding of NHI: Dr Nicholas Crisp: