The health department will not backtrack on the implementation of the NHI- health department says
The health department says it won’t back down from implementing the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI).
Speaking at the Pharmacy Show in Sandton on Wednesday, the deputy director-general in charge of the NHI at the department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, said they hope the NHI Bill will go through Parliament by the end of the year.
The bill has been before Parliament for two-and-half years, he said.
Last week, Crisp briefed Parliament on the bill after the public hearings. He said they had received over 100 00 comments.
“We are ready to respond to the wording and strengthening of the bill. We are not going to backtrack on creating one health system; it is not on our agenda. We want everybody in South Africa to get a good health system.”
Crisp said the department hoped the parliamentary process would be concluded this year.
“It is through the National Assembly, which is the first stage. Now, it gets amended and goes through a vote in the Assembly. Then, it still has to go through the NCOP. Only after that, does it get voted on in the whole house. We may get a vote this year.
“We know there are parties that have told us, outright, they are taking us to the Constitutional Court. We would have never tabled the bill if we were not confident we would win those cases. We are certain that, if we are challenged, we will be fine.”
The DA said it would fight the NHI all the way to the Constitutional Court.
“In the meantime, we are putting the managerial capabilities in place. We need them anyway, even if the system is different from how it is envisaged now, we still need to improve the system.
“There are processes that are going on between us and the Council of Medical Schemes for some changes to be made [in preparation for the NHI].”
Crisp said 80% of South Africans use the public health system, which is why the department wanted to make it more equitable and accessible.