New MEC plans health levy for Western Cape

by Aug 16, 2009All Articles

Argus
Andisiwe Makinana
23 June 2009

Hospital naming rights may be sold

The Western Cape in planning to introduce a health levy on medical services including prescriptions, need occupancy and consultation in a bid to improve the quality of public sector healthcare.

The province is also planning to sell hospital naming rights in a bid to raise funds for the department.

These were some of the new plans announced by Health MEC Theuns Botha during his maiden budget speech at the provincial parliament today.

Botha said he would be investigating the possibility of a heath levy in order to address the dire need for additional income so that service delivery and quality care would be enhanced.

“This investigation will comprise consultation with all relevant role-players and stakeholders, as well as investigation into the impact and nature of such levies in other countries”.

Botha said this was one of the alternatives to the ANC’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) plan, which the SA – “as many other important role-players in the industry – was opposed to.

The Health MEC said he was considering a variety of mechanisms to broaden and increase sustainable income streams for his department, not only by means of advocating and canvassing for increased national allocation to the provincial health department, but also through other avenues.

This will include revisiting private health licensing fee structures and the possibility of an annual renewal fee for these licenses.

He said the health levy could be applicable to all those who pay for health services in both the public and private sectors and that the levy could also be applicable to bed occupancy, consultation and medication prescription.

“I believe people will be prepared to contribute to a health levy if they had the assurance that the income generated by this will be dedicated towards specific healthcare initiatives and programmes,” he said.

“We need to work towards a more equal healthcare system, narrowing the level of service between the rich and the poor.”

Botha added that the health levy would be similar to the ANC’s government fuel and tourism levy initiatives.

“Should it prove viable that such anticipated health levy could succeed in bringing better healthcare to the poorest of the poor, it could certainly become a very important contribution to improving equality, quality and opportunities for tall in healthcare.”

He said further to the strengthening of sustainable income, he would embark on a commercialization exploration of trading with the names rights of some facilities as well as their marketing and advertising potential similar to the naming rights attached to many sports stadia

“Many of our facilities and institutions, such as Groote Schuur are internationally renowned, and this could possibly have an additional monetary value.

“Many other health facilities are well position in terms of location and offer commercial potential.
“I believe corporate institutions and commerce will be keen and willing to obtain the commercial value and opportunities, and simultaneously fulfil their social responsibilities.”

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