Why the NHI Bill?
The objective of the NHI Bill is to provide universal access to quality health care for all South Africans as enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution recognizes healthcare as a fundamental human right. It states that “everyone has the right to have access to health care services… the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights and no one may be refused emergency medical treatment.” The NHI Bill seeks to achieve this by ensuring that:
- No one is deprived of the above mentioned rights because of their socio-economic status;
- One public health fund is created with adequate resources to plan for and effectively meet the health needs of the entire population, not just for a selected few; and
- The ultimate goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
What is the NHI Bill and how will NHI benefit South Africans?
- The NHI fund will cover South Africans of all races, rich or poor and legal long-term residents.
- There will be one pool of healthcare funding for private and public healthcare providers alike.
- The cost of our healthcare system, which is currently the most expensive in the world, will be reduced.
- When people visit healthcare facilities, there will be no fees charged because the NHI fund will cover the costs of people’s medical care in the same way that medical aids do for their members.
- NHI will narrow the gap between the rich and poor in terms of standards of healthcare.
- South Africans will no longer be required to contribute directly to a medical health scheme to get quality health care. The NHI Fund will be funded from:
✔ General taxes,
✔ Contributions of persons earning above a set amount, and
✔ Monthly contributions made by the employees to the fund.
- Employers will assist the NHI Fund by ensuring that their workers’ contributions to the NHI fund are collected and submitted, in a similar manner to UIF contributions.
What will happen to members of medical aid schemes and private healthcare providers? NHI will not replace Medical Aid Schemes, members will be free to continue with their medical schemes if they still wish to. When the NHI is fully implemented the role of medical schemes will change as they will provide cover for services not reimbursable by the NHI Fund.