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2019/09/20
2019/09/20 01:10 PM
DAILY MAVERICK

On Monday 23 September, world leaders will sign a UN declaration that could have committed the world to providing decent healthcare for all. Instead, activists say, some of the world’s biggest health issues don’t even get a mention. What does this mean for SA’s National Health Insurance?

The world’s first United Nations declaration on universal health coverage (UHC) will not include any mention of sexual and reproductive health rights — and activists say US President Donald Trump’s administration is largely to blame. Meanwhile, South African experts say other controversies around the document — including who has a seat at the table — mirror fights about the country’s own UHC financing model, the National Health Insurance (NHI).
  
2019/09/192019/09/20 01:18 PM
BUSINESS TECH

Medical aid group Bonitas has announced a weighted average increase of 9.9% in monthly contributions for its plans in 2020.

The increases are on par with those announced by Discovery this week, though above the typical annual industry average of CPI+4% (which would be around 8.5%).

Bonitas is the third largest medical aid scheme in South Africa (after Discovery and GEMS), with 330,993 principal members and 710,206 total beneficiaries.
  
2019/09/192019/09/20 01:19 PM
IT ONLINE

With government striving to pass legislation to create a National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme to serve all South Africans, the country’s health and wellness market is in flux.

Along with the global trends reshaping the sector, this is a recipe for massive change and disruption that could have wide implications for consumer brands in every segment.

Our global longitudinal study, GfK Consumer Life – which includes 1 000 South African respondents that are representative of the online population – pinpoints three major trends.

These developments do not only affect health-related brands such as pharma, medical aid, private health and wellness companies. They also create threats and opportunities for brands in categories as diverse as consumer tech, food & beverages, entertainment and domestic appliances.

Let’s take a closer look:

Seeking relief

One of the trends we’re seeing among consumers in many parts of the world is rising anxiety, social stress and concern about safety and security. In South Africa, concerns about crime and worries about technology are helping to intensify feelings of insecurity among consumers, with 73% of our survey sample saying they are always concerned about their safety. This is up from 56% in 2017.

Consumers are seeking relief from the anxiety and stress they experience in their day to day lives. They are looking for products and services that make them feel safer and healthier – a trend that is apparent across all categories. People are looking for products that help them feel secure and in control at all times – for example, driver details, peer review and minute by minute control of the ride are major pluses of Uber.

Providing security can also be about transparency and simplicity. Monzo the digital bank based in the UK, offers security to consumers through its casual, easy-to understand approach to banking. Another symptom of the trend is the demand for premium services and products, with consumers seeking relief through pampering and indulgence (up 7% since 2017).

The popularity of ‘hometainment’ is also partly related to this trend. Three quarters of South Africans say they enjoy spending time at home – the reasons for this include safety and the ability to make sophisticated premium entertainment choices. Between video and music streaming services, the proliferation of food delivery services, and more ecommerce options, this trend is likely to grow.

Implication for brands: Consider how your product and service can address your customer’s need for safety and self-care. Are there ‘white space’ opportunities to address? For example, consider the rise of new subcategories such as non-alcoholic beer, cannabis oil and weighted blankets. Or can you make consumers feel more secure through clarity and transparency?

Pivoting to prevention

The growing preoccupation with personal wellness – along with the eternal desire to retain youthfulness and skyrocketing healthcare costs – means that people are becoming more proactive about managing their health. There is a shift from cure to prevention – around 60% of online South Africans exercise at least once a week (up from 48% in 2017) and 51% agree that they aim for prevention rather than treatment.

Detection will also be an important element in health innovations. GfK Consumer Life research shows that consumers worldwide share a growing desire for proactive identification of threats such as allergens, contaminants, polluted air, and much more. New devices and services that do better jobs of identifying these threats to our health will become more of a “must have” in the future.

Implication for brands: Brands should look for new opportunities to address the focus on preventative healthcare and communicate the benefits to their customers in a clear manner. This is not limited to personal health products like probiotics or vitamins. For example, small domestic appliance manufacturers have seen a boom in demand for hot air fryers as connected South Africans embrace healthier eating habits.

Self-directed health

As part of the wider consumer shift towards taking control over their lifestyles and the brands with which they interact, consumers are embracing ‘life logging’, and ‘health and fitness tracking’. South Africa’s Discovery is a global pioneer in this space, with many life and health insurers worldwide using its Vitality behavioural wellness programme to help people manage their own health better.

More and more people are using wearables and smartphones to track health and fitness metrics such as heart rate, calorie intake, steps taken, and more, all with the goal of better managing their own wellbeing. Some 19% of online South Africans own a smart watch and 20% use mobile devices to track their health. Programmes such as Vitality add incentives and a layer of gamification on top of this health data.

Burnout is a word we hear more often as consumers feel the pressure to perform in an always-on environment. Consumers are turning to ways that they can transform themselves into super-humans, helping to drive growth of the superfoods and bio-hacking categories.

Plus, knowledge, learning and creativity are now among South Africans’ top five values as reflected by our research.

As such, people are using online communities and other online resources to make better health choices – including brand and product selection. This shift of control from brands, retailers, and advertisers to customers is apparent across many other categories. This is due to not only how attitudes and personal values are shifting, but also the vast amount of information now available from our peers via social media, review sites, and more.

Implications for brands: Empower your customers to follow their own health journey, supporting them with personalised messages that help them make the right choices. Where appropriate, offer benefits and rewards related to self-quantification.

Seeking innovation

Consumers are seeking health innovations and depending on brands to help them achieve their goals. Regardless of industry, understanding these trends more deeply can help brands leverage an extraordinary opportunity.
  
2019/09/182019/09/20 01:08 PM
TIMES SELECT

The short turnaround is immoral and flouts the spirit of the constitution, say critics

Industry players have bemoaned the fact that only two working days were given to nominate people for the committee that will determine what benefits the National Health Insurance will offer.

The health department said in a letter on Friday that nominations for the steering committee would close on Tuesday.
  
2019/09/182019/09/20 01:08 PM
SPOTLIGHT

Mothers give birth in the back of bakkies and children die because ambulances arrive late if at all. This is the current reality for many people trying to access emergency medical services in South Africa.

Underlying this reality are deeply entrenched structural and capacity problems. Currently most provinces simply do not have enough ambulances. Ambulances often languish for months in depots awaiting repairs. In addition, there are insufficient numbers of intermediate life support and advanced life support paramedics in South Africa, meaning that ambulances, when they do arrive, often merely act as patient transport vehicles. All this is made worse by limited planning, coordination and management capacity in many provincial departments of health.
  
2019/09/182019/09/20 01:09 PM
UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND

Experts shed some light on the debate over the recently published National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

Poor communication, vague details and unresolved questions remain concerns of the NHI Bill that came under the spotlight at a panel discussion hosted by the Mandela Institute at the School of Law on 11 September 2019.

The Bill, which will be the funding mechanism for South Africa’s push towards universal health coverage, is currently before Parliament and is open for public comment. It has become one of South Africa’s hottest topics right now even as it continues to be criticised for being too ill-defined and not being inclusive enough in bringing more of the general population into the debate.
  
2019/09/18
2019/09/20 01:09 PM
DAILY DISPATCH

"I have seen the future," said an impressed President Cyril Ramaphosa when he visited a new R58m National Health Insurance NHI clinic built in the heart of Lusikisiki.

He called the Lusikisiki village clinic "world class" and "well-staffed". The NHI clinic was the third to open in the Eastern Cape in the last 10 days.
  
2019/09/18
2019/09/20 01:10 PM
THE MERCURY / CAPE TIMES

Several countries attempted to implement the National Health Insurance (NHI) but were delayed because private health practitioners were opposed to it.

This is according to the technical health specialist in the Presidency, Dr Aquina Thulare.

Thulare was speaking at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) seminar on the NHI at the University of KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.
  
2019/09/182019/09/20 01:17 PM
TIMES LIVE

Older, sicker people are among reasons for Discovery hiking medical aid by 10%

Consumers will face another year of above-inflation medical aid increases, with Discovery medical aid plans set to increase by 10%.

However, Discovery says this increase is less than its inflation costs, which it says are about 12%.
  
2019/09/172019/09/20 01:02 PM
BUSINESS TECH

South Africa’s new National Health Insurance (NHI) will be successful and the pilot projects which tested the proposed system across a number of districts were not ‘failures’.

This is according to the minister of health, Zweli Mkhize, who was responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session.

“The pilot projects were not NHI pilots but health system strengthening projects implemented in the NHI pilot districts intended to improve the public health system,” Mkhize said.
  
2019/09/172019/09/20 01:03 PM
NETWERK24

Die Nasionale Gesondheidsversekering (NGV) sal suksesvol wees as dit in Suid-Afrika ingestel word, belowe dr. Zweli Mkhize, minister van gesondheid.

“Dít is omdat die NGV-beleid afgehandel is ná uitgebreide navorsing en konsultasie met plaaslike en internasionale kundiges voordat dit gefinaliseer is.

“Ons het ook voordeel getrek uit die ervaring van verskeie lande, wat positiewe en negatiewe lesse gehad het met die implementering van universele gesondheidsdekking,” sê Mkhize in ’n parlementêre antwoord, wat Maandag uitgereik is.
  
2019/09/172019/09/20 01:03 PM
POLITICS WEB

DA MP says this reveals the high level of opposition to the plan

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has, following extensive engagements with members of various communities, civil society groups and other interested parties, come to the conclusion that the month that Parliament initially gave for public comments is simply inadequate.
  
2019/09/172019/09/20 01:04 PM
BHEKISISA.ORG

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill proposes significant shifts in who controls our national and provincial health budgets. Will the draft legislation rob provinces of traditional control, or will it open up new, and more effective ways of making sure money goes where it’s needed most? Find out in the first in “Compass,” our new series on South Africa’s move to the NHI.

There is no better time for a radical transformation in the way that we fund healthcare than now — and the recently released National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill presents us with such an opportunity.  Although there are still numerous gaps in the latest iteration of the document, which proposes drastic healthcare reforms, the centralisation of public funding — particularly the proposed shifting of provincial equitable share allocation and conditional grants to the NHI Fund — is a step in the right direction.
Russell Rensburg is the executive director of the Rural Health Advocacy Project.
  
2019/09/172019/09/20 01:18 PM
MED BRIEF AFRICA

After a series of delays over the past year, the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry (HMI) will publish its final findings and recommendations report on Monday 30 September.

The report will be released at a media conference at the Hilton Hotel in Rivonia, Sandton at 10h00. Stakeholders are invited to attend the event and take part in the question and answer session that will follow an address by HMI Panel Chair, Justice Sandile Ngcobo on the main findings of the report.

Stakeholders who wish to attend the media conference are requested to RSVP and indicate the number of attendees at PaulinaM@compcom.co.za

The release of the final report follows more than five years after the inquiry into the private healthcare sector was officially launched and comes as government starts with its public deliberations’ process on the draft NHI Bill that was recently submitted to Parliament.

The HMI’s preliminary findings and recommendations were published in July last year, inviting stakeholders to submit comment before 7 September 2018. However, the initial deadline for the publication of the final report on 30 November was moved several times due to requests for further stakeholder engagements and budget constraints within the Competition Commission.

To allow for thorough engagement with stakeholders, the Panel held a series of seminars in April this year on its main preliminary findings related to the market concentration of the three biggest private hospital groups, Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare; funder concentration and excessive utilisation and supply induced demand. The submissions of stakeholders based on the seminar engagements have been considered by the HMI panel and are available on its website.
  
2019/09/162019/09/20 12:54 PM
TIMES SELECT

What will it cover, at what price? Unanswered questions will mean endless court action if sense doesn’t prevail

The national health department is rushing through the appointment of members to an interim steering committee to slug out the details of the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill.

This comes as law experts warn of court action against NHI if “level heads” do not prevail.

At a round-table discussion on Wednesday evening, the key points of concern remained the lack of details in the bill on what benefits will and will not be covered, and what it will cost.

On Friday, a letter signed by the deputy director of the health department, Yogan Pillay, was released asking for nominations for the steering committee of the national benefits committee.

The nominations have to be made by Tuesday.

The rush to appoint an interim steering committee comes as the Helen Suzman Foundation requested more time from the NHI health parliamentary portfolio committee to send comments about NHI.  The deadline for submissions is October 11.

This interim committee will decide what benefits will be covered by NHI, and at what cost.

The benefits are of extreme interest as the proposed NHI law says medical aids cannot pay for services covered under NHI, but only for “complementary cover” for care not covered by the NHI fund.

This was a key talking point at Wednesday’s round-table discussion at Wits University’s School of Law.

The Helen Suzman Foundation believed “the NHI Bill is far too important and complex to be adequately engaged within this short comment period”.

Be patient, says NHI head

But senior government official and head of the NHI office Dr Nicholas Crisp was unperturbed, saying an act of law could not be too detailed because its aim was to create an “enabling environment” for further regulations.

The bill proposes a major upheaval of the health system, with a single government-run fund buying all the healthcare in the country.

The bill has been sent to parliament for discussion.

But experts said it was difficult for people to make “informed” comments because the suggested law does not say what type of healthcare services the fund will buy and what it will cost.

Crisp, consultant to the department of health and head of the NHI office, said at the discussion: “It will cost as much as we can afford. Pay what you can, to get what you can get.”

The dean of the Wits Department of Commerce, Law and Management, Imraan Valodia, seemed unimpressed: “I hear you say this can cost anything we want it to cost. As someone who is concerned about taxation and public finances, this leaves me very uneasy. We are about to embark on what appears to be a really important social change.

“If we are going to be entering this thing without even some kind of radar of what the likely costs are going to be,  it does seem to me we are stepping into a minefield.”

Advocate and former lawyer at Section 27 Adila Hassim said the bill only provided the “bare bones”.

“It is not enough for the drivers of the process to say trust us ... because we have got your interests at heart ... We need to see more on the money front.”

She pointed out that Crisp had not answered Valodia’s question.

“You haven’t answered Imraan’s questions … What is it going to cost … even in the immediate term?”

She said consumers did not know what to expect,

“We don’t know what the benefit package is. We don’t know what it will cost, because we don’t know what it is.”

Legal action is a possibility

Werksmans medical lawyer Neil Kirby Werksmans said people needed to know what health treatments or benefits would be available, in order to respond to the bill in an “informed” way.

“We don’t know what we are talking to. If the benefits were around and we knew what they were we would know what we are fighting about or not.”

But Crisp defended the vague bill, saying “health reform of this magnitude was a long journey ... not a sprint”.

“There are so many issues out there, that you simply cannot address with the bill.”

The benefits are yet to be determined by committees of health experts, who are still to be appointed by the health minister.

Crisp admitted there was ambiguity and confusion in the bill.

“I have no doubt there are things in the bill that mean one thing to one person and mean something different to someone else.”

But this would be resolved when “we put our heads together”.

Werksmans’ Kirby called for calm, but warned that if decisions were not reasonable, people would head to court.

“Level heads will prevail, but if they don’t, we will get level heads in court to ensure they [level heads] prevail.”

Crisp said the government was ready for legal and constitutional challenges to the bill once it was law.

“People challenge things all the time.”

The government was expecting challenges for “years” to come.

“That is the nature of how we make laws in our society, anyway.”

As the evening closed, an audience member and senior education researcher, Dhianaraj Chetty, said he was “not impressed” with how the health department had handled the NHI bill.

“It’s clear from the responses that there are so many issues out there that you simply haven’t addressed in the bill.”

He said the government had been working on the bill since at least 2011 when it was first drafted.

Crisp said it was first discussed in 1992.

Chetty said: “We have had this discussion for so long. If you did not anticipate these issues ... what were you doing?

“How can you bring us a bill [with so many holes] that you could drive a truck through it, on so many issues?”
  
2019/09/162019/09/20 12:56 PM
HEALTH-E.ORG.ZA

The Democratic Alliance has been fiercely opposed to the National Health Insurance Bill. But the official opposition party’s alternative leaves many unanswered questions. Eleanor Whyle, Manya van Ryneveld and Leanne Brady break it down.

In August, Health minister Zweli Mkhize tabled the National Health Insurance Bill in Parliament. It has been met with fierce backlash, including the Democratic Alliance asking Parliament to obtain a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the Bill.
  
2019/09/162019/09/20 12:56 PM
SPOTLIGHT

It is a widely held perception that poorer South Africans rely on the public health sector for their health needs, while a smaller and more affluent section of South African society uses almost exclusively private health care providers. However, this is not an entirely correct summation of the current health situation. Research has demonstrated that depending on prevailing circumstances and your health needs, a far more significant number of South Africans use a combination of both private and public healthcare services.
  
2019/09/162019/09/20 12:59 PM
FA NEWS

How a medical malpractice public/private partnership can reduce State’s medico-legal exposure and improve health care outcomes.

With the draft NHI bill silent on an estimated R98 billion in state medico-legal claims, public sector doctors are deeply unsettled by a recent warning from the Gauteng Department of Health, that they could be held liable in their personal capacities for damages claimed as a result of patient harm.
  
2019/09/16
2019/09/20 01:13 PM
MONEYWEB

Members can expect to pay up to 11% more ….

Total monthly contributions for plans in the Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) will increase by between 8.88% and 10.96% for main members from January.

The increases are mostly skewed to the higher-end plans, with those in the Comprehensive range and the Executive plan increasing by very close to 11%. Discovery contends that “Only 19% of members will have the 10.9% increase, while 60% of members will have an 8.9% increase.”
 
One outlier is the lowest income band of the most comprehensive of the entry-level KeyCare plans, KeyCare Plus (R0-R8550), which increases by a similar amount.

With the exception of the Coastal Core plan (9.94%) and Coastal Saver Plan (9.9%), contributions for all other plans will increase by just under 9%. The Classic Comprehensive Zero MSA (no medical savings account) plan falls away. In its place is the Classic Smart Comprehensive plan, also with no medical savings account. Exact differences between the two are not immediately apparent from the pricing table.

Discovery cites a market survey of financial advisors representing over 250 000 lives, which shows that “market expectations are for increases between 10% and 12% across the industry”.
 
“Following the success of its digitally enabled, network-based Smart Series, the Scheme has extended the design to its Comprehensive Series, to offer families attractive options for efficient, affordable comprehensive cover in 2020.”

According to a pricing document made available to brokers, the weighted average increase is 9.5%. This takes into account contributions for main members, adults and children. DHMS generally shares price changes publicly in October/November.

The detailed contributions document for 2020 is available here.

Last year, DHMS attempted to consolidate the income bands for its entry-level KeyCare plans. On KeyCare Core and KeyCare Plus, it removed the middle income bracket, and on KeyCare Start, it consolidated the lower two brackets. This meant increases of between 20% and 47% for some members. It reversed the plan to consolidate these after a strong backlash. The same brackets as 2019 remain in force next year.

Given DHMS’s position in the market – it held 56.6% market share of members in September 2018, according to the Council for Medical Schemes – these price changes are far-reaching. It nonetheless continues to grow. In 2018, it added a net 41 193 members, versus a combined 9 048 decline for the next seven largest schemes (Bonitas, Momentum Health, Medihelp, BestMed, Medshield, Fedhealth, and Sizwe).

According to its annual results presentation, medical inflation from July 2018 to end-June 2019 was 10.6%. Over the past decade, this has been 10.9%, with both supply and demand-side factors contributing to the rate which is more than double the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“Discovery Health estimates total medical inflation for 2019 at between 10.5% and 12.5%, with the variance due to utilisation trends on the different health plan options. However, risk management by Discovery Health and the ongoing positive impact of Vitality on engaged members’ health, reduce medical inflation by 1.6%, resulting in plan specific contribution increases between 8.9% and 10.9%.”

Because of its size and overall population dynamics, the average age of its member is trending up over time.

As members get older, there is an increase in claims. Higher-risk members also drive up demand-side inflation.
  
2019/09/162019/09/20 01:14 PM
BUSINESS TECH

Health insurer Discovery has published its full price adjustment schedule for medical aid members in 2020, showing a 9% to 11% increase across its plans.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme is the largest open medical scheme in South Africa, covering nearly 2.8 million beneficiaries, with an open medical scheme market share of approximately 56%.

  
2019/09/162019/09/20 01:15 PM
BUSINESS LIVE

Increases in the cost of claims are mainly due to more members using healthcare services, more frequently

Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) has announced a weighted average annual contribution increase of 9.5% for 2020.

The health insurer said on Monday the 2020 contribution increases for each of its plans reflects the underlying medical inflation for Discovery Health Medical Scheme, with adjustment for plan-specific experience where required.
  
2019/09/14
2019/09/20 01:11 PM
SATURDAY WEEKEND ARGUS

World Patient Safety Day will be celebrated across the world for the first time on Tuesday.

It aims to raise awareness and high light the importance of patient safety.

The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (Cohsasa) will light up the statue of Nelson Mandela on the Grade Parade to mark the World Health Organisation's WHO initiative.

Jacqui Stewart, chief executive of Cohsasa, said WHO agreed it would designate September 17 every year for World Patient Safety Day.

"Health care should not do anybody any harm. We know that across the world every day, thousands of patients are harmed or potentially injured during an episode of health care," Stewart said.

"In the US for example, adverse events when a patient is actually harmed is now the third biggest killer. We thought it was important to high light this day in South Africa.

"According to the WHO, in high income countries, it is estimated that one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The available evidence suggests that 134 million adverse events occur annually in hospitals in low and middle income countries, contributing to 2 6 million deaths every year."

Next month, Cohsasa, with the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), will host the largest global conference at the CTICC on patient safety and how to improve health care. Cape Town will also make history as it will be the first time that ISQua will host its conference in Africa.

"During this time, we will have international and local speakers who will be doing presentations. It is aimed at everybody in the health care system sharing their learning of patient safety, improvement and external evaluation accreditation.

"It is really about people sharing their knowledge and learning from other people," Stewart said.
  
2019/09/132019/09/20 12:55 PM
MY CAPE TOWN

In a Standing Committee briefing on Wednesday, 11 September 2019, the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health compared and contrasted the current system of universal public healthcare, with the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill currently before the National Assembly.

The Department came to the unanimous conclusion that NHI is unnecessary in the Western Cape where the existing model for public healthcare roll out is efficient, effective, and sustainable under a DA-run government without hiking taxes. What is required, is a strong efficient and well-resourced universal public health system which leaves no one behind.
  
2019/09/132019/09/20 12:55 PM
DISPATCH

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Friday officially opened two state-of-the-art, multimillion-rand clinics in Mthatha and Qumbu, saying they would bring an end to long queues, complaints about poor infrastructure in health facilities in the province and deal with the shortage of medicine in clinics.
  
2019/09/122019/09/20 01:37 PM
BIZCOMMUNITY

The recent publication of the National Health Insurance Bill in South Africa has provoked vigorous debate. Many question whether the proposed reforms contained in the Bill offer meaningful solutions to the well-documented crisis in South Africa's health system.

This crisis is two-fold. On the one hand is the lack of access and poor quality in the public health system which serves around 85% of the population. On the other hand is an expensive and inefficient private health sector for the remaining minority. There are massive inequities in the distribution of resources between the two sectors.
  
2019/09/122019/09/20 01:37 PM
POLITICS WEB

As part of AfriForum’s campaign against the destructive bill on national health insurance (NHI), the civil rights organisation submitted its commentary on 12 September 2019 at the Houses of Parliament. AfriForum also requested representatives of the portfolio committee on health to provide the civil rights organisation with the dates and venues of the public participation process of this bill. 

The government – and specifically the department of health – has, to say the least, a poor track record in terms of the spending of taxpayers’ money and managing government-controlled entities. The department can therefore not be trusted with the more than R446 billion annually (AfriForum’s calculation of what NHI will cost) needed to manage the healthcare of the whole country’s people.
  
2019/09/122019/09/20 01:38 PM
CAPE ARGUS

Since the publishing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in August there has been confusion about the difference between it and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), with many people making the mistake of considering both terms to mean the same thing.

Dr Beth Engelbrecht, the head of Health in the provincial government, yesterday spent a couple of hours explaining the difference to the legislature's standing committee on health in a bid to help the committee with crafting its comments on, and contributions to, the bill.
  
2019/09/122019/09/20 01:39 PM
FINANCIAL MAIL

As the government forges ahead with plans to introduce National Health Insurance, SA’s largest medical aid administrator is facing its biggest battle yet. It doesn’t help that this comes at a time when not only is Discovery launching a bank, but analysts are also pointing to opaque disclosure, aggressive accounting, high financial leverage and weak cash generation. How bad is it really?

It’s been one of the more challenging weeks for SA’s quintessential corporate optimist, Adrian Gore, to keep the legendary pep in his step. Gore, 55, who built Discovery into SA’s largest medical aid administrator in just 27 years, has long been the antidote to the waves of negativity that seem to assail SA every few months. At a conference last November, he spoke of how "in SA we are particularly gloomy, but we are incredibly inaccurate about our gloominess. We are confidently wrong, we are stubbornly stupid."
  
2019/09/112019/09/20 01:35 PM
MEDICAL BRIEF

National Health Insurance (NHI) plans this week came under unexpected pressure from healthcare oversight bodies on the issues of independence and funding, and the private sector in the form of Business Unity SA wrung an unexpected negotiating concession from Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, writes MedicalBrief.

The Health Ombud wants Parliament to review NHI-related legislation that causes his office to report to the minister; the Office of Health Standards Compliance, and the Council of Medical Schemes both want bigger budgets to meet increased NHI responsibilities, and Business Unity SA is enter into direct bilateral negotiations with government over its NHI concerns.
  
2019/09/112019/09/20 01:36 PM
BUSINESS DAY

NHI contributions would be based on income, this would necessitate those 2.1-million South Africans each paying in an additional R11,202 per month

A lot of commentary has been delivered in the last two weeks, since the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill was introduced to parliament on August 8, covering its ramifications for the health industry and the country at large. But we also need to focus on what is not stated in the bill, as it is here that the bill’s implementation will really be tested.
Larkan is head of healthcare consulting at GTC.
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