National Health Insurance (NHI) Policy and Legislation

Political parties square off on NHI

To put health on the agenda ahead of May’s elections, the Treatment Action Campaign put some of South Africa’s major health issues to political parties. Here’s what parties said about the introduction of National Health Insurance (NHI).

The Democratic Alliance was one of only eight parties to respond to the manifesto.

The Democratic Alliance was one of only eight parties to respond to the manifesto.

On March 7, TAC released a health manifesto posing questions to political parties on 11 health issues such as patent law reform, tuberculosis in prisons and the National Health Insurance (NHI).

As of 19 March, only eight of the 20 parties invited to respond had submitted responses.

Health-e News Service brings you what parties said when TAC asked if they supported the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Set to be phased in over 14 years, the NHI aims to provide all South Africans with access to quality health care. It is being introduced alongside programmes to revitalise primary health care in the country.

[quote float=”right”]”Public patients must ultimately be guaranteed the same or similar service as private patients. We will not rest until this noble goal is achieved.” – Patriotic Alliance

Democratic Alliance (DA): “The DA supports the underlying principle in the National Health Insurance (NHI) strategy that there must be better cooperation between the public and private sectors and that partnerships between these two spheres can improve health services for all.

“The NHI strategy, however, does not adequately address the problems in the public health sector – like bad management, lack of equipment, high vacancy rates, etc. Bad decisions about how the cooperation between the public and private sector should take place, and forcing private doctors and hospitals into agreements, is also likely to undermine private sector health services and make even more patients reliant on the state for health services.

“We will only be able to make sure that every South African has access to health care if we can make sure that our health care solutions fix the problems in the public sector and allow private service providers to use business models that they know to be successful and sustainable.”

Pan Africanist Movement (PAM): “PAM does not support (the) National Health Insurance, whatever that means. We believe that health must be the sole responsibility of the state and that private hospitals must be nationalised to serve the health needs of all citizens.”

AgangSA: “Agang SA supports the NHI introduction but believes it can only be successful if implemented by an effective government with healthcare professionals at all facility levels.”

Patriotic Alliance (PA): “Not as it is currently proposed, no, but there are many aspects of the NHI that we would wholeheartedly support. Public patients must ultimately be guaranteed the same or similar service as private patients. We will not rest until this noble goal is achieved.”

Freedom Front Plus (FF+): “No. NHI requires a functioning public healthcare system and infrastructure. NHI cannot be utilised to better the public healthcare infrastructure. If such is the case, it will fail.

“It is internationally proven that NHI takes between 40 and 60 years to develop and implement in a country. Public health infrastructure should first be upgraded before any form of a National Health Insurance Scheme can be considered. Another prerequisite for NHI is a diminutive gap between rich and poor. A NHI will fail especially the poor in South Africa and worsen the public health care output.” – Health-e News Service.

About the author

Laura Lopez Gonzalez

Laura Lopez Gonzalez was the Print Editor of Health-e News Service.