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MEDBRIEF AFRICA It is back to the drawing board for the Department of Health on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill after Cabinet decided to send it back to the department for more work. The Bill was presented to Cabinet yesterday, but statements on its website indicate that it was not approved during yesterday’s session with various other draft legislation destined for Parliamentary approval. Presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko confirmed to MedBrief Africa last night that the Bill was presented to Cabinet but that it was not approved and will only be finalised early next year. According to a report by Health-e News government sources have confirmed that a special Cabinet meeting will now be held at the end of January next year to discuss the Bill and decide on the way forward. The decision by Cabinet to refer the Bill back comes amidst fierce criticism from stakeholders in the healthcare sector and civil society warning that rushing the legislation through in its current form could lead to a total collapse of the healthcare system. However, in a strongly worded statement last week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi slammed critics of the Bill and media reports that a team led by presidential advisor Dr Olive Shisana made changes to the document initially approved by the then Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene and the Health Minister for presentation to Cabinet. This was confirmed in a letter written by the deputy director-general of Treasury, Ismail Momoniat to Shisana and leaked to the media last month. It was also revealed that the Director-general of Health, Precious Matsoso was side lined in the process and not provided with a copy of the revised Bill as it made its way to Cabinet. A version of the Bill which contains the changes referred to in the letter to Shisana is dated 5 October indicating that the Department of Health couldn’t possibly consider the hundreds of comments on the draft Bill released in June this year as the deadline for submissions was only the 21st of September. The delay of the Bill comes only a few days after the Health Market Inquiry into the private sector announced that it had postponed the release of its final report and recommendations to the end of March next year to provide it with enough time to seriously consider all input it had received from stakeholders on the provisional report. It was expected that the Department of Health would consider the final recommendations of the HMI report for inclusion in the NHI Bill.
Created at 2018/12/10 04:19 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2018/12/10 04:19 PM by Mediclinic