Sowetan 15 July 2009
All citizens guaranteed free basic services
HEALTH Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is determined to press ahead with a national health insurance scheme that will provide all South Africans with free basic services.
“The time has come for us to stop debating and start putting something on the table, that we start implementing. Many South Africans are waiting for that. We don’t have an option,” Motsoaledi said.
The minister will participate in a TV debate on the topic on e.tv’s Big Debate with stakeholders from the health sector, including representatives of medical aids, labour and private doctors.
The ANC is committed to introducing the national health insurance within five years to redress the current situation in which most of the country’s health resources are accessible only to the small section of the population who belong to medical aid schemes.
About R56billion is spent on public health, which is used by the 40million people who lack medical insurance, while medical aids spend about R59billion for the care of their 7million members.
The government also spends R4billion subsidising medical aids and billions of rands more go into broker fees, marketing and the private companies’ profits.
The national health insurance scheme hopes to save some of this money and give South Africans better value. The plan seeks to create one common pool of funds that would ensure all South Africans have access to free health facilities.
All South Africans will have access to all health institutions where they will receive standardised medical treatment free. Those who want more expensive treatment can join private schemes.
But Discovery Healthcare chief executive Adrian Gores argues that the money paid to medical aid schemes is “private money that the government cannot just take away”.
See the Big Debate on eNews Channel, DStv channel 403, tonight at 9pm, and on e.tv this Saturday at 1pm