‘Pushing NHI Bill in haste will have consequences for SA’

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Business for South Africa (B4SA) Steering Committee Chairperson, Martin Kingston says the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill is being pushed through side-lining the public inputs.

Kingston says detailed comments were sought, provincial hearings and submissions were made in the past two months, yet none of these were taken into consideration.

He says as far as participatory democracy, that was not the case and the Bill will now go to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) without any input that was collected.

Kingston says, “There will be very significant ramifications of acting in haste. It’s not that we are opposed to the concept of universal health care, far from it. But we need to do it in a thoughtful and considered manner, which takes all of the input into consideration on the one hand, and crowds in all of the skills, resources and expertise on the other hand for what amounts to a complete overhaul of the health care sector.”

Kingston says this will strengthen the chances of a successful legal challenge.

He says, “We would much rather not associate with a legal challenge or indeed we put in place a proposition that doesn’t withstand scrutiny and doesn’t pass constitutional master. The consequence of that is we will be tied up in the courts as a country not for months, but I fear for years at the very time when we need to make sure that we have affordable and accessible health care particularly to those who are least able to take advantage of it currently.”

Full interview with Kingston: