National Health Insurance will 'revolutionise' healthcare, says Sanco

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) says the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) and Medical Schemes Amendment bills will "revolutionise" healthcare in South Africa.

On Thursday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi presented to the public the two bills which aim to put in place a set of health-financing reforms to provide universal health coverage.

Sanco appeared to agree with the minister's plan to ensure that the "rich will subsidise the poor, the young will subsidise the old, and the healthy must subsidise the sick".

Read: 'The rich will subsidise the poor' – Motsoaledi outlines universal healthcare plan

Sanco spokesperson Motlalepula Rosho said: "NHI will raise resources required to address inequalities while ensuring that all citizens access quality healthcare, which is currently the preserve of the affluent."

She said opposition to the introduction of NHI was largely influenced by sections of the private healthcare sector and pharmaceutical companies that benefit from medical aid schemes.

"Doctors who are servicing disadvantaged communities, who have curtailed claim rates from medical aid schemes as opposed to their counterparts operating from private healthcare facilities, will also derive equitable benefits from the proposed changes," Rosho emphasised.

During his presentation, the minister explained that an NHI Fund would be established as a public entity, which will be governed by the Public Finance Management Act.

Read more: New era for healthcare as Motsoaledi wants co-payments abolished

The fund will be a single public purchaser and financier of health services in the country, to ensure "equitable and fair distribution", and will be a mandatory pre-payment health services system.

Healthcare services, medicines, health goods and health-related products from certified, accredited and contracted service providers will be financed by the fund.

It will "pool funds to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status", the minister explained.

The ultimate goal of NHI is to ensure that everyone has the same access and standard of healthcare, regardless of their income.

The NHI Bill will also require amendments to 12 other pieces of legislation in order to pave the way for an effective national fund.