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National Health Insurance Bill on Track

May 25, 2022

Parliament

The portfolio committee on health is to soon start deliberations on the National Health Insurance Bill.

Last week, the committee voted in favour of the motion of desirability on the bill.

The majority of committee members voted in favour of the bill while four rejected it.

The bill was tabled in parliament in 2019.
It aims to:

• achieve universal access to quality health care services in the Republic in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution;
• establish a National Health Insurance Fund and to set out its powers, functions and governance structures;
• provide a framework for the strategic purchasing of health care services by the Fund on behalf of users;
• create mechanisms for the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of the resources of the Fund to meet the health needs of the population;
• preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the Fund and its users; and
• provide for matters connected herewith.

The bill flows from the National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper, published in June 2017.

It sets out government’s proposals to put a universal health coverage system in place.

The NHI aims to pool funds to provide access to quality and affordable health services for all South Africans based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status.

The NHI Fund will purchase health care services for all users who are registered with the Fund.

The White Paper focused on structural problems in the health sector, the burden of disease, the rationale and benefits of NHI, NHI coverage, organisation of the health care system and services under the NHI, financing of NHI, purchasing of health services and phased implementation.

In a statement, the committee highlighted that nationwide, in-person public hearings were conducted in all nine provinces from October 2019 to February 2020.

“The public hearings were attended by 11 564 members of the public and various stakeholders across 33 district municipalities.”

Virtual public hearings were also conducted from May 2021 to February 2022 and approximately 338 891 written submissions were received from the public.