NHI Bill gets approval, awaits signing into law

  • The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) have approved the National Health Insurance Bill.
  • The Bill was aprpoved by eight of the nine provinces, with the Western Cape voting against.
  • It now awaits signing into law by the President.

Earlier this year Cabinet briefed media regarding the divisive National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, noting that its signing into law would indeed happen sometime down the line.

Said signing is a step closer to coming to fruition as this week the NHI Bill got approval in Parliament by the National Council of Provinces, per PMG.

As EWN reports, voting regarding the Bill saw eight of the nine provinces approve, with Western Cape being the only one to vote against its implementation.

“During the final debate, the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party and the Freedom Front Plus all rejected the bill – saying it was an unworkable model, and there was simply no money to implement it,” the publication wrote.

“The truth is that the NHI Bill is nothing more than cheap electioneering ahead of next year’s election,” noted DA MP Michele Clarke per BusinessTech.

As such, the Bill has becoming a far larger political talking point in recent months, with those in the healthcare sector who cited concerns over the implementation of the model in past years seemingly being ignored as the government looked to push through its signing into law on the back of events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The NHI Bill recommends a complete overhaul of the country’s healthcare sector. While reforms to the public and private healthcare sectors are urgently needed, there is too much at stake for the country’s healthcare system to get the NHI wrong,” Simon Strachan, a spokesperson for the South African Health Professionals Collaboration noted last month.

“We are concerned that the Bill’s hasty progression through the legislative process, without taking into account the diverse perspectives and expert insights delivered through numerous prior expert submissions, is a lost opportunity to put the country on a pathway to quality healthcare for all,” they added.

Despite some serious concerns being raised, it looks like the Bill will indeed be signed into law.

Given the potential issues that have been raised, such as the source of funding, training, treatment protocols, and the very real risk of corruption, the original intention of the NHI Bill may be lost in the rapid push to get it signed.

[Image – Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash]


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