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National Health Insurance Bill Tabled

August 8, 2019

Parliament

8 August 2019

The National Health Insurance Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The draft bill was published for comment last year.

The bill 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.

It is described as representing a substantial policy shift that will require a significant re-organisation of the current health care system, both private and public.

The vision is that health care should be regarded as a social investment and not subjected to market forces.

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.

The bill will be processed by the portfolio committee on health.