President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he has established a war room in the Presidency to deal with the country's healthcare crisis and the National Health Insurance (NHI).
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: The Presidency
“Realising the magnitude of the challenges in healthcare, we have established an NHI and quality improvement war room in the Presidency consisting of various key departments to address the crisis in the public health system while preparing for the implementation of the NHI,” he said n his second State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities. By applying the principle of social solidarity and cross-subsidisation, we aim to reduce inequality in access to health care,” he added.
The initiative is being implemented in phases over a 14-year period, which started in 2012.
“By introducing the NHI together with a multi-pronged quality improvement programme for public health facilities, we are working towards a massive change in the healthcare experience of South Africans,” Ramaphosa said.
In October last year, the Presidential Health Summit was convened bringing together key stakeholders from a wide range of constituencies in the health sector.
Issues highlighted at the summit are likely to feed into the much awaited NHI Bill.
“At this health summit, the participants dissected the crisis in the health system and proposed immediate, short term and medium term solutions to improve the effectiveness of the health system,” he said.
A key provision of the Bill is the establishment of an NHI Fund to pay for health services so that all South Africans have access to quality care.
The fund will be established through the creation of a single fund that will buy services on behalf of the entire population through a combination of various mandatory prepayment sources, primarily based on general taxes.
However, the insurance has been met with criticism mainly from private healthcare systems' stakeholders.
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