The Democratic Alliance will approach National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu about what seems to be a concerted attempt to prevent meaningful discussion on the NHI, DA health spokesman Mike Waters said.
The attitude displayed by health portfolio committee chairman Monwabisi Goqwana was disappointing to say the least, Waters said in a statement.
Instead of encouraging a constructive discussion around the national health insurance (NHI) green paper, the chairman closed down the debate, he said.
DA chief whip Ian Davidson would write to the Speaker to raise the DA's concerns over what seemed to be a concerted attempt to prevent meaningful discussion on the NHI.
NHI not open for discussion
It was the duty of members of the committee to ask questions and seek clarity on aspects of all presentations before the committee.
It was unacceptable that an issue as important as the NHI was not open for discussion.
Goqwana had closed the meeting before the health department director general answered any questions relating to the NHI proposal, Waters said.
The questions included a request for more details on the package of services to be offered by the NHI, the independence of the proposed office of standards compliance, access of people in rural areas to quality health care, and the role of medical aids under the NHI.
Door shut in DA’s face
The DA representatives on the committee had expected to gain clarity on these and other aspects of the green paper.
This was crucial for them to formulate a constructive response to the proposed NHI.
In the coming weeks, the DA would be formulating a comprehensive position in consultation with party structures and other stakeholders.
Opposition parties hope for engagement on NHI
The DA shared national government's goal of improving access to quality health care for all.
"Whether or not the proposed NHI achieves this will be the central question we will be asking in the weeks ahead."
"We hope that the chairperson of the portfolio committee will give opposition parties the space to engage constructively with the department's proposals," Waters said.
(Sapa, August 2011)
NHI green paper