Free health care policies, universal health care, global health, and so many other terms are used all the time on the news. However, do you know what it means? What are the pros and cons of free healthcare? Who qualifies for free healthcare? This article seeks to cover the scope of the complicated system so that we can all be well informed about it before subscribing or pushing our leaders to implement it fully.
For the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, the health sector is in jeopardy. Something needs to be done and fast. A healthy nation is a backbone of developing economies and countries, which is why this discussion has to be started. The situation in South Africa can be better.
What is free healthcare?
Simply put, free healthcare means that wellness services will be available to citizens in that country at no cost or very minimal financial constraints.
The ideal situation of free healthcare seems impossible to attain, which is why there is a lot of scepticism on how to implement it and make it work. To achieve this mode of treatment in South Africa, it is required of the government to enforce free healthcare policies.
Free healthcare policies. These are measures used to try and curb the obstacles that are experienced by people who are trying to access doctors, primarily financial and geographical barriers.
For the government to give excellent health services in the country, the first step is geared towards Universal healthcare.
READ ALSO: 5 cheapest medical aid quotes in 2019 - 2020
Universal healthcare. This is a health care structure in which at least 90% of citizens are guaranteed to have access to medical care. In this scenario, citizens can access some form of medical care without incurring a lot of high costs in the process. It ensures that the residents of a country who are not financially capable of paying for themselves have access to medical care.
South Africa healthcare system
The South African government under President Cyril Ramaphosa is working to introduce the National Health Insurance (NHI). This is necessary to address the problems faced by the current system, which is not working effectively.
The National Health Insurance advantages and disadvantages include that it will provide health services for all the citizens of South Africa without eliminating the budget from other sectors. However, this will mean that those receiving treatment from different areas, public or private, will be required to pay taxes to the fund.
Advantages and disadvantages of free healthcare
Now when we understand the medical structure in South Africa and the various terms related to health, we need to look at the pros and cons of having any of these systems.
Advantages of free health care
Here we tackle the question,' Why is free healthcare important?'.
- The general cost of this structure is less compared to a free market system. It means that many people visiting the doctor will result in improved prices. This is because the cost will be dependent on the value of excellent service given to a patient rather than the number of services offered to a patient. Some healthcare providers can earn less money but ultimately providing the same level of care.
- This mode of wellness eliminates the need for companies to compete for money. Competitive economies are very healthy except for healthcare. For free-market systems, wealthy people are the ones targeted by medical providers. This can bar the poor from obtaining good healthcare. Universal systems concentrate on providing quality care regardless of how much money one has.
- It increases levels of health in the workers of a country. With this improved system, going to the doctor becomes very easy and affordable, ultimately leading to people going to the doctor more. This will eliminate illnesses related to avoiding doctor visits due to high prices and improves productivity.
- It eliminates management costs, which are brought about by dealing with private insurers. This reduces the staff hired, and the third parties involved because the doctors and nurses deal with the government directly.
- It improves the care given to children by doctors. When children have easy access to doctors at a young age, they can prevent issues before they grow up. This will also assist in guiding the entire country in making choices that promote healthy living.
READ ALSO: Is there free health care in South Africa?
Disadvantages of free healthcare
So far free medical care seems like the perfect solution, but why free healthcare is bad?
- One of the biggest cons is having to pay medical for strangers. It is estimated that about 85% of costs related to health are associated with chronic illnesses mostly related to lifestyle choices. Therefore people who have a healthy lifestyle feel burdened by the bad decisions of others and unfairly taxed.
- Understaffing of medical staff can lead to reduced quality of care. This system caters to everybody, but if not planned well, it can be a disaster for the patients and doctors. When implementing such a wellness plan, it is paramount to ensure that the ratio of doctors to patients is manageable.
- It leads to reduced motivation in providing innovation in the health sector. When the funding is severely decreased, there will not be much-pushing innovation.
- People may become careless with their health. The decision that your health may no longer be a priority may result in more people getting sick and not putting energy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- The country may get into debt very fast. When most of the country's budget goes into improving health, then the debt is looming. For example, 40% of Canada's budget goes to health, and for corrupt leaders, this can be the beginning of a big problem, especially in South Africa.
This is a topic that has been a headache to several heads of state. Improving the general wellness of the public is no easy task. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa has received an award from the New York NGO for his impressive work in the health sector and pushing the country in the right direction. The advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages, which is why the NHI bill is not going anywhere.
- 5 Important facts to know about the National Health Insurance Bill
- Dazzling Doctor: Mzansi impressed as graduate aces medical school
- Gauteng health MEC says there are no more funds to treat foreigners
- Complete list of hospitals in South Africa and their locations
- ANC's controversial NHI bill could lead to a shortage of doctors