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Mediclinic News : NHI BILL TO BE TABLED BEFORE CABINET NEXT WEEK DESPITE FIERCE OPPOSITION

Title

NHI BILL TO BE TABLED BEFORE CABINET NEXT WEEK DESPITE FIERCE OPPOSITION

Date

2018-11-27

Link

News Description

MED BRIEF AFRICA The presidency has confirmed that the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill will be tabled before Cabinet next week. It was expected to be presented to Cabinet today (27 November), but according to presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, it has been moved to next week. This comes despite strong opposition from healthcare providers, civil society organisations and even Treasury who are accusing government of not having taken into consideration comments submitted to the Department of Health on the draft Bill released in June this year. The deadline for submissions was 21 September, but in a letter written by the deputy director-general of Treasury, Ismail Momoniat to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special adviser on health, Dr Olive Shisana and leaked to the media last week, it appears as if the Bill to be presented to Cabinet was revised by a small team lead by Dr Shisana. In the letter Momoniat said the revised version would be perceived as a threat to the private sector, current medical aid users and taxpayers, opening the bill to legal challenge. It apparently ignores amendments agreed to by former Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in May, which allowed Nene to support the publication of the bill for comment. Last week, health director-general, Precious Matsoso also told Business Day that she was side-lined in the process and had not seen the revised Bill. Yesterday, civil societies urgently called on Cabinet to send the Bill back to the Department of Health and to request a proper and thorough consultation process and consideration of options available for improvement of access to and quality of health care services in the country “This version, prepared so soon after the submission deadline, cannot have taken into account the likely hundreds of submissions made by interested parties across the country. It was also, interestingly, prepared before the Presidential Health Summit of 19 and 20 October 2018, at which delegates made clear the need to focus on system improvement aimed at fixing the crisis in public health rather than on legislation,” the Treatment Action Campaign, SECTION27, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) and the People’s Health Movement (PHM) said in a joint statement. In a statement released by COSATU today, the trade union federation called the statement “a blatant effort to slow down the implementation of the NHI policy for the poor and working class that are in desperate need of quality healthcare services.” According to COSATU, reports that the public comment process had been rushed is untrue and is “a renewed attempt by the detractors of the NHI to remove the policy and any enabling legislation off the table, while the South African Health system continues to be in crises as a result of underfunding as well as a lack of healthcare professionals in the public sector. “COSATU cannot emphasise enough the urgency in the implementation of the NHI in the face of the quadruple disease burden as well as the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. COSATU therefore rejects any attempt to slow down the implementation of the NHI bill and any progressive enabling legislation,” the trade union federation concludes.
Created at 2018/12/05 10:59 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2018/12/05 10:59 AM by Mediclinic