Zille gives national insurance poor prognosis

by Aug 16, 2009All Articles

Xolani Mbanjwa
Cape Argus
June 20 2009

Battle lines have been drawn around the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan, with the DA slamming the government for interfering with private healthcare, while the ANC has called for urgent intervention because private healthcare has become “less affordable”.

Chairman of the ANC subcommittee on education and health and member of the task team on the NHI, Zweli Mkhize said on Friday the party would consult key stakeholders Mkhize said the NHI would “cure the ills of the health care system”, which had suffered under-funding, deteriorating state facilities and quality of care which had resulted in the exodus of skilled personnel. “Many doctors in private practice are only too familiar with the situation of members of medical aid schemes who get disqualified from seeing private practitioners because they exhaust their annual medical scheme allocation mid-year. They get dumped into the public health system as they cannot afford the fees in private hospitals.
“All the medical aid schemes have the risk rating policy. They recruit the younger and healthier members who are employed and need less medical attention, only to dump them or charge them more when they get sicker with age and cannot afford premiums after life-long contribution to the schemes. Universal access to a basic package of services for both the rich and poor will be achieved by the NHI,” said Mkhize, who is also KZN premierm

DA leader Helen Zille agreed with the SACP and the ANC that healthcare needed “drastic” improvement because it provided “excellent” services to a minority in the private sector and “poor and deteriorating” services to the public sector.

But, she added, the proposed system would “hurt” taxpayers. The insurance would deepen failures by public health, reduce benefits to the private sector and “demoralise” doctors and nurses while becoming a burden to taxpayers, who would have to foot its R100 billion-a-year price tag. The system would also increase the health budget by 40 percent.

“Private health providers would receive less per patient. Everyone will be allowed three visits to their chosen doctor or clinic.

“The NHI would get funding from taxes, a new compulsory pay-roll levy and public medical scheme contributions. Cuban doctors would be brought in to make up the shortfall in SA doctors.”

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