South Africa: NHI, As It Stands, Will Leave Many Without Cover


The National Health Insurance train is speeding towards implementation, but it is leaving some people behind, making the bill vulnerable to legal challenge.

It is a widely held perception that poorer South Africans rely on the public health sector for their health needs, while a smaller and more affluent section of South African society uses almost exclusively private healthcare providers. However, this is not an entirely correct summation of the current health situation. Research has demonstrated that, depending on prevailing circumstances and your health needs, a far more significant number of South Africans use a combination of both private and public healthcare services.

With an unemployment rate of 29% in 2019, the highest in almost 15 years and the high cost of private medical aid, more and more people will rely on public healthcare services. As such, the idea of a National Health Insurance (NHI) system that is well designed and well implemented to ensure that everyone has access to an equitable healthcare package makes perfect sense.

The preamble to the NHI Bill seeks to recognise the socio-economic injustices, imbalances and inequalities of the past and the need to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental...

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