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Mediclinic News : Cost constraints a barrier to healthcare

Title

Cost constraints a barrier to healthcare

Date

2016-09-22

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News Description

BUSINESS DAY When Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi published his opinion on the future of healthcare in SA in a Sunday newspaper recently, Dr Humphrey Zokufa, MD of the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF), was very encouraged. He saw the opinion as a reiteration of the fact that the BHF and Motsoaledi "are united both in our determination to provide better healthcare for all South Africans, and in the direction we must take to achieve this goal". Motsoaledi's statement came just a month before the annual BHF conference, which focused on universal healthcare as an important basic right that must be realised. The minister said the power of pooling means that we can afford to insure all our people, and Zokufa fully concurred. "At the moment the health rand is fragmented," said Zokufa. "The money is in different pockets. It is stretched between the nine provinces, the Road Accident Fund, Occupational Health and 83 medical schemes. "It is the role of the government to intervene here. They have the responsibility, according to Section 27 of the Constitution, to make sure that we pool the money for healthcare. It is concerning to us when various parties question this accountability and do not support the government's intervention here. The current situation when it comes to healthcare is not benefiting all South Africans. Government has no option but to intervene or it would be abdicating its responsibility." The BHF has identified many of the problems with the current system, including fragmentation and high and unregulated health costs, which are causing it to be unsustainable. "People are paying contributions to their medical schemes that are higher than inflation. They have to pay co-payments and their benefits run out. The pool of insured people is not increasing and those who are insured are ageing. In a situation like this, the government has no option but to intervene, and that intervention is taking the form of the NHI," said Zokufa. He queried the motive of various parties who are questioning what the government is trying to do. "One begins to question — are they basing their comments on self-interest? Are they really interested in providing healthcare for all South Africans?" The constructive way to move forward is to find ways to work with government and to find ways to enrich the process. Zokufa said he is encouraged by the lack of detail in the NHI white paper because he sees it as opening the door to engage with various parties to establish the details about how best to achieve the shared aims of the NHI. Zokufa also supported Motsoaledi's comments on alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. "You can't blame the providers of healthcare in the private sector from following the money," he said. "What has to happen is that the money is pooled so that all providers should be remunerated adequately and all South Africans should experience the same high quality of care from accredited healthcare providers." For Zokufa, the private healthcare sector is no stranger to the benefits of pooling resources, which has been happening for the past 10 years as smaller medical schemes have merged. "The current model of healthcare in SA must change," he said. "As the BHF we fully support NHI. We are going to participate to ensure that it is implemented and managed effectively and efficiently. "Our population is our biggest asset. If we want to see economic growth and the implementation of the National Development Plan, we need to change the paradigm. We have an opportunity to participate in correcting what is wrong and to invest in improving the health of our nation. We are 100% behind the NHI."
Created at 2016/09/27 11:23 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/09/27 11:23 AM by Mediclinic