- The Competition Commission has released the initial findings on its four-year probe into the private healthcare sector
- Former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo headed the inquiry which focused on understanding factors which lessened competition in the sector
- The report noted that South Africans paid too much for private healthcare and were at times prescribed treatments they did not actually need
Former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo has released the initial findings on the Competition Commission’s four-year probe into the private healthcare sector. The report found that private healthcare in South Africa was too expensive.
The report also damningly declared that an industry with none to very little competition at times prescribed unnecessary treatments to patients.
The report highlighted items like performing a caesarean section when a natural birth would be medically possible and ordering additional blood tests as just two examples of unneeded additional treatments.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Ngcobo was in charge of the exhaustive probe into the sector which focused on understanding the factors which lessened, prevented or distorted competition in the sector.
The inquiry found that there was very limited competition in both the medical aid sector and the private hospital market. Three companies dominate each of the sectors.
When it comes to medical aid schemes or health insurance the industry is dominated by Discovery Health, Liberty Holdings and MMI Holdings while the private hospital market is nearly monopolised by Netcare, Life Healthcare and Mediclinic International.
EWN.co.za reported that the inquiry’s findings will likely be a welcome boost for Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and his crusade to lower patient costs and will undoubtedly be used by the minister as ammunition in his fight to get the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) programme of the ground.
Ngcobo suggested that a regulator which sets pre-agreed tariffs is established to oversee the entire sector. He said these tariffs would be set after extensive consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
Ngcobo proposed that a moratorium is placed on the issuing of new licenses to the big three hospital providers coupled with a disinvestment until their combined market share dropped to 20% as one way to increase competition in the sector.
Members of the public and other interested parties have until 7 September to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report.
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