It is unlikely that tax will be increased in the medium term
to fund the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, Finance Minister Pravin
Gordhan said on Wednesday.
"The initial phase of NHI development will not place
new revenue demands on the fiscus," he said.
Tabling his 2013 Budget in the National Assembly, he told
MPs: "Over the longer term, however, it is anticipated that a tax increase
will be needed."
will determine funding
According to the 2013 Budget Review, National Treasury will
work with the health department to determine the required funding for NHI.
A discussion paper inviting public comment on various
options would be published later this year.
"The paper will also examine arrangements for risk and
revenue pooling, mechanisms for the purchasing of health services - including
the size and cost of the proposed health benefits package - and the mix of
public and private provision of health care."
All South Africans will
have essential health care
The NHI aims to ensure citizens are provided with essential
health care, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct
Last year, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi launched 10
pilot projects to assess various policy options for NHI.
The projects were set up in all provinces and covered 10
million people. Conditional grant funding to the tune of R1.3 billion is
helping to finance the projects.
2013 budget for
The 2013 Budget provides for a new national health grant
with two components - one for NHI and one for health facility revitalisation. The
health department is to play a closer role in delivering these services
alongside the provinces.
"This measure has been introduced to deal with
underspending and weaknesses in the performance on these grants."
The new grant includes allocations of R291 million for
2013/14, R420 million for 2014/15 and R443.8 million for 2015/16.
The national health department will spend R370.6 million in
the new financial year on the NHI and health financing sub-programme.
In 2012/2013, R182.1 million was spent on the sub programme.
By 2016, estimated spending on the NHI and related funding is expected to be
about R546 million.