The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) says the Medical Aid Scheme Act (Masa) must be replaced in its entirety as it has no place in the nationalised and centralised funding of the envisaged National Health Insurance (NHI) Scheme.
The council made a presentation at the public hearings that resumed on the NHI Bill in Parliament on Tuesday.
The Bill is aimed at achieving universal access to quality health care services.
HPCSA president Professor Simon Nemutandani says the Bill must be explicit enough for any person who requires extra health insurance or cover to apply under the Insurance Act for that additional cover.
Nemutandani says, “For NHI to work, there should be only one funding mechanism for health in SA. There should be a clear pronouncement that it replaces all the funding mechanisms for health. That should be the message that we are putting very clearly that NHI should be taking over from medical aid schemes and all assets that sit under medical schemes must be transferred to NHI.
The portfolio committee on health resumed public hearings on the NHI Bill after being halted due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This came after they had finalised public hearings in all nine provinces.
The committee says it has received a request from 130 organisations or institutions wishing to contribute towards the Bill.
The South African Nursing Council (SANC), the South Africa Pharmacy Council (SAPC) as well as the HPCSA support the Bill.
The Board of Healthcare Funders however has a different view. It believes that the NHI is not the solution to the challenges of health care.
The Board’s Michelle Behnke says the challenges experienced by healthcare can be solved through proper contracting with service providers.
Behnke says, “We don’t believe that the NHI is the silver bullet for universal health care coverage. We don’t believe that it solves the funding problem and it exacerbates this by making the NHI sole funder for all health care in South Africa and it eliminates private health care funding. We believe that there’s a role private health care funding can play. We are concerned about a single system it creates an opportunity for corruption.”
Understanding the National Health Insurance Scheme:
Nursing council ready to assist with implementation of NHI
The South African Nursing Council (SANC) says it is ready to assist the government with the implementation of the NHI.
The Nursing Council gave input to the NHI Bill in the Health Portfolio Committee on Tuesday.