Parliament, Thursday, 24 February 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Health wrapped up its virtual public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill yesterday. The Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress were the last organisations to make presentations on the Bill.
The virtual oral public hearings provided an opportunity for stakeholders to make oral presentations on their written submissions. The committee commenced this leg of the public participation process on the NHI Bill on 18 May 2021.
Stakeholders who have participated in the public hearings include professional associations, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, researchers, lobby groups, academics, traditional healers, public health entities, statutory bodies, government departments, sector experts, healthcare funders, medical aid schemes, healthcare administrators, hospital groups, political organisations, labour unions and other interested stakeholders.
The virtual public hearings follow on from provincial public hearings, which took place between 25 October 2019 and 24 February 2020. These included visits to 33 district municipalities across all nine provinces (three to four district municipalities per province). The public hearings took place from Friday afternoon to Monday evening so as to allow maximum participation. There were 11 564 attendees at the public hearings and 961 submissions were made.
About 134 stakeholders had expressed interest to make oral presentations. A total of 114 organisations/ stakeholders have orally presented their written submissions to the committee; 20 organisations withdrew from making oral presentations, stating that their written submissions suffice.
During the public hearings, various views were expressed on the Bill and covered every aspect of it, from the preamble to every chapter of the Bill. One common theme was the recognition that health reform has to take place in South Africa in order to bring equal access to all people.
Committee chairperson Dr Jacobs said that is clear from the public participation process that people want access to universal and quality healthcare, as this is a fundamental human right. “We have an obligation as the legislative arm to solicit public input on the NHI Bill and we have done so for the past two years.”
The NHI Bill was introduced in Parliament in August 2019 and it was subsequently referred to the committee for consideration. The NHI Bill seeks to realise universal health coverage for all. This means that every South African will have a right to access comprehensive healthcare services free of charge at the point of care at accredited health facilities, such as clinics, hospitals and private health practitioners.
As the next step in the legislative process, the committee will schedule a meeting with the Department of Health (sponsor of the Bill) to respond on the inputs received and to the recommendations. The committee will then proceed to clause-by-clause deliberations on the NHI Bill.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR KENNETH JACOBS.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Yoliswa Landu
Parliamentary Communication Services
Cell: 081 497 4694
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