5 August 2009
Reader letter : Sue Richardson
THE proposed National Health Insurance that has been outlined in the press recently might sound absolutely wonderful, and the emotive “solidarity” and “equality” are of course vital in motivating for this system, but closer examination and more research into all the ramifications are absolutely essential. —
Funny thing about solidarity is that it sounds great when applied as a feel-good fuzzy word , but not so when those at the top find that the desperately urgent transplant they want cannot just happen — there is a waiting list because everyone is now entitled to the same healthcare.
The application of a little logic will show that there are many obstacles to the implementation of this system, not least the means of funding it.
With financing expected to be on the basis of “those who can afford to pay subsidising those who cannot afford ”, I wonder just how every hard-working person and already struggling business will be expected to make ends meet. It has been stated that those who cannot afford it “…. will be able to attend any hospital, public or private, and will not have to pay for medicine or treatment”. How will medical personnel feel about that blanket statement? Emigration figures will provide the answer.
The recent doctors’ strike merely served to highlight the horrendous issues that exist, and throwing money at the problem, from private citizens, hospitals and medical aids will not fix an already dire situation.
Overloading any system causes a breakdown, and there is no surer way of getting rid of even more doctors and qualified medical personnel than to expect them to use their hard-earned skills for no reward other than no sleep, too much work and the inevitable complaints and court cases .
One of the most efficient national health systems exists in Sweden. Not only does that country have a much smaller population than South Africa, but the vast majority of the population actively contribute financially to the system. That makes it work.
The national health system in the UK might sound wonderful now, but it has taken 50 years to get to the point that it works as it does, which is not perfect. How can a health system that is already in crisis expect to completely turn around within six years? That is, of course, the target — to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
At what cost? To temporarily look good to the rest of the continent ? How will that help our ailing health system in the long run? Not at all — it will simply hasten its demise, to a point well below its current abysmal state. Is that progress, or solidarity?