- President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured South Africans that the NHI (National Health Insurance) will be implemented responsibly
- Instead of applying the system all at once, the politician revealed it will be a slow process over the next five years
- This comes after widespread distrust in the government's ability to adequately carry out the changes
President Cyril Ramaphosa says that public hearings held across South Africa have revealed overall support for the National Health Insurance Bill.
The ANC leader assured citizens that the state would be cautiously implementing the bill in an incremental manner until 2025 when the entire country will be covered.
While the bill has been met with mixed reception, Ramaphosa says numerous citizens were behind the changes:
"Participants have made a number of proposals and have spoken about their views on National Health Insurance, personal experiences of illness, trauma, disability and suffering – and the difficulties they have had in accessing health care when they need it. It is these experiences that inform South Africa’s support for the global goal of universal health coverage."
The deliberations on the bill will be entering a new phase after the public hearings are concluded.
Ramaphosa says it would be a travesty if access to health care was dependant on a person's ability to pay:
"South Africa has two parallel health care systems. Around R250 billion is spent annually on less than 20 percent of the population. This is the section of our population that has access to private medical insurance. On the other hand our country spends R220 billion on rest of the population. This flies in the face of the Constitutional right of access to health care for all citizens regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances. It is a situation that cannot continue. It is inefficient and unsustainable. It is unfair and unjust."
The president lauded the NHI as one of the most far-reaching acts of social transformation since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.
Ramaphosa called on society to join hands in ensuring the bill is the success he envisions it will be:
"I call on the private sector to join government in seeing the NHI realised. To transform the health care landscape to make it more efficient, cost-effective and value for money requires that we forge strong public-private partnerships for the delivery of services. We will not be reckless in implementing the NHI. We will implement it in an incremental fashion and aim to cover the whole country by 2025."
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