Government plans to incrementally implement the National Health Insurance (NHI) from 2019 so that everyone in South Africa is covered by 2025.
President Ramaphosa declared this during an address to the National Health Insurance Consultative Meeting in Pretoria.
The health department sought comment on the Draft National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in June 2018.
The draft bill aims to:
• provide mandatory prepayment health care services in the Republic in pursuance of 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 active 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 users;
• preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the Fund and its users; and
• provide for matters connected herewith.
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.
According to president Ramaphosa, the NHI is meant to “ensure that all our people, black and white, rich and poor, receive the quality health services they need without the imposition on them of financial hardship.”
Reference was made to a recent Office of Health Standards Compliance report that indicated that, on average, “health facilities inspected met less than 50% of the required quality health standards.”
The president described this as being “totally unacceptable.”
He added that the NHI was “fundamentally about social justice.”