via Spotlight, by David Sanders & Louis Reynolds, People’s Health Movement South Africa
The People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) welcomes the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in that it confirms Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through a single payer system as the platform for the delivery of health care. The goal of UHC is to realise the right to comprehensive health care of good quality for everyone on the basis of need, while ensuring that no one experiences financial hardship in accessing the care they need. Comprehensive care includes promotive, preventative, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services regardless of people’s socio-economic or health status. The NHI should be funded through a solidarity mechanism where there is a cross-subsidy from the rich to the poor via taxation.
Although we are supportive of the principles that underpin the NHI, PHM has several reservations about whether the Bill can deliver UHC. More broadly, we remain deeply concerned about government’s ability to steer this ambitious project in the context of South Africa’s deep-seated and multi-pronged health crisis.