Letter: NHI will have a disastrous impact on healthcare - Herald

26 November 2019 - We encourage South Africans to join the IRR in its efforts to make sure South Africans aren't sold out on the ANC's NHI.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR), SAs leading think tank, is seriously concerned that the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan will have a disastrous impact on healthcare and healthcare funding in SA.

Under the NHI, people who pay for the private healthcare of their choice will have to pay increased taxes to help fund the NHI, which, according to former health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, will be "like a giant state-run medical aid".

Under the NHI, the state will decide on all aspects of healthcare from the healthcare services to be covered to the fees to be paid to doctors and other providers, the medicines to be prescribed, the blood tests to be allowed, the medical equipment to be used, the new health technologies to be permitted, and the recommended prices to be paid for every item, from aspirins and ARVs to sutures and CAT scanners.

The private healthcare sector will effectively be nationalised, giving the government a monopoly over healthcare. This would be the Eskomisation of healthcare for all South Africans.

The IRR now challenges the big medical aid schemes to nail their colours to the mast on this important issue by answering the following questions: How do they intend to protect their clients against the dangerous effects of the NHI and the nationalisation of healthcare in SA? Are they planning or do they have any intention to benefit from tenders, contracts or other agreements connected to the rollout or implementation of the NHI? How many professional healthcare practitioners have they consulted on the dangers posed by the NHI? What is their view on the creation of low-cost, affordable healthcare plans?

We encourage South Africans to join the IRR in its efforts to make sure South Africans aren't sold out on the ANC's NHI.

Hermann Pretorius, Campaigns Coordinator, Institute of Race Relations 

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