As the debate on National Health Insurance (NHI) funding continues, the Minister of Health has come out in response to the criticism over the high cost associated with rolling out universal health care in South Africa.
NHI White Paper
On Tuesday, Motsoaledi addressed the media along with members of the Board of Healthcare Funders following his article on the Sunday Times this weekend.
"The National Health Insurance scheme is the only way to ensure that everyone is not excluded to quality health because of their socio-economic status,” said Motsoaledi.
The NHI White Paper was released last year and plans to reform both public and private health sectors by combining all South Africans into one purchasing pool.
Read: NHI to be compulsory for all, says Motsoaledi
The cost of NHI has been estimated to be R256-billion by 2025, which is higher than the current national budget allocation toward healthcare.
But according to Motsoaledi, the figure is a projection and could change with the process. He stated that in 2002, the department of health combined all South Africans into one purchasing pool and were able to lower the costs of antiretroviral treatment.
“The projections were that it would cost us R10,000 per year to put each patient on ARVs, but through pooling we were able to lower the costs to R1,728 per person.
“We could do the same with the NHI as we would be in a better position to negotiate costs with service providers,” he added.
Read: NHI: A feasible proposal or is it dead in the water?
Dr Humphrey Zokufa, the Managing Director of the Board of Healthcare Funders, supported the minister and added that pooling would mean South Africa could afford to insure everyone.
He believes that currently people are paying high contributions to medical aid scheme yet they have to pay for certain services that their medical aid doesn’t cover and their benefits run out.
“The White Paper describes the NHI benefit package to be comprehensive, granting access to specialised services, and emergency medical services without additional costs,” he added.
Zokufa believes that there is too much emphasis placed on the high cost of the NHI and less on the high cost for private healthcare currently. – Health-e News.
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