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Mediclinic News : Private healthcare 'in crisis'

Title

Private healthcare 'in crisis'

Date

2016-06-29

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News Description

THE MERCURY There is no way one can argue that the current private health-care system is stable. In fact, it's on the brink of collapse. So said Humphrey Zokufa, managing director of the Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa, yesterday in a joint briefing held with Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to express support for the government's plan for universal health coverage for South African citizens through the National Health Insurance scheme. "People are paying contributions to their medical schemes that are higher than inflation. They have to also pay co-payments, and their benefits are shrinking. People on medical aids are not necessarily happy Medical aids too are bleeding, showing high deficits. The pool of insured people is not increasing and those who are insuring are ageing and get-ting sicker" Zokufa said. Yesterday Motsoaledi said the briefing was to clarify the "scare tactics" people were being misled by when it came to discussions and debates about issues related to NHI. Zokufa said the Board of Healthcare Funders - representing more than 80% of the country's medical aid schemes and 60% of scheme administrators - was encouraged by the minister's clarifications. Through the power of "pooling", everyone could be insured. Motsoaledi also questioned the motives of NHI detractors. "Are they basing their comments on self-interest? Are they really interested in providing health care for all South Africans? The pooling in the private sector is already happening ... in 2005 we had over 200 medical schemes and that number has since dropped to just over 80 because of mergers and the realisation that there is power in pooling. The government is being democratic and inviting people to participate and make submissions so as to put in the detail." He said the current debate about the NHI was skewed. "The United Nations has adopted universal health cover-age and all countries under the UN have signed to that, not just South Africa. Universal access to quality health care for all is nothing new "When I listen to various critiques of the NHI, no one is against it per se, but there is always a big 'but' when saying it is a good system for all instead of a select few We don't accept that." Motsoaledi said the Nation-al Development Plan required two problems to be solved in health care - the exorbitant cost of private care and them lack of quality and efficacy in the public system. He said the next target would be companies offering "gap cover", who were in effect "selling sick-ness" and operating unregulated, leaving the industry open to abuse. "These adverts are per-verse, they sell sickness. The only way to get money is to get sick. "They purport to finance health yet aren't bound by rules. The Treasury is very un-happy "Very soon those plans will be abolished," he said.
Created at 2016/07/06 10:49 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/07/06 10:49 AM by Mediclinic