The DA will to go all the way to the Constitutional Court to stop the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill, tabled in parliament last week by health minister Zweli Mkhize. This was announced at a press briefing in parliament by DA leader Mmusi Maimane and party MP in the health portfolio committee, Siviwe Gwarube.
Maimane and Gwarube are arguing that the bill was not consistent with schedule 4 of the constitution in that it usurped the powers of provinces in the administration of public health care.
Maimane said he had written to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise, asking her to seek a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the NHI bill before it was processed for possible passage by the health portfolio committee. The NHI bill in the main seeks to provide equal primary health care to all South Africans regardless of their employment and financial status, and its roll-out was expected to cost around R250bn a year.
Maimane said the proposed NHI, which if implemented would put government in charge of private and public health funds, was nothing but another attempt by the ANC to create a new state-owned company for the benefit of the governing elite.
Gwarube flagged “five key areas of concern” for her party, arguing against the proposed establishment of the National Health Insurance fund.
“The bill explicitly states that the fund will operate as a public entity which will be constituted by the pooling of funds both from the public and private sectors. The minister has sole discretionary powers over this fund. In addition, the board, which is appointed by the minister, will be tasked with overseeing this fund, leaving very little room for adequate checks and balances.
“In addition, the bill makes provision for investigative powers in cases of corruption and maladministration within the national NHI fund office, and not through any independent body.
“This fund will serve as just another state-owned company, vulnerable to grand corruption at the expense of the nation’s entire health system.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday vowed that the National Health Insurance is here stay. Ramaphosa was speaking a week after health minister Zweli Mkhize made public the NHI bill, which has been the subject of a lot of criticism.
Most of the critics have pointed out a lack of clarity about its funding, questions over the future of medical aids and fear that health professionals and specialists would leave the country. But addressing an ANC Women’s League event, dubbed a “Conversation with the President” on Tuesday night in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa came out in full support of the NHI …Read more