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03 June 2011

The Devil and the NHI

Susan Erasmus quite liked the Health Minister until he said that her point of view on the NHI reflected 'self-interest and greed that would shame the Devil'.

Susan Erasmus quite liked Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi until he said that her point of view on the NHI reflected 'self-interest and greed that would shame the Devil'.

I have never had very strong religious views, but if push came to shove, I suspect  I would rather not go with the Devil. He's had some very bad press for about 3000 years. In his case there is something such as bad publicity.

But back to Minister Motsoaledi. The context in which this was mentioned was his speech in Parliament on the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI), in which he urged everyone, from those who are ardently awaiting better health care, to self-interested devils like myself, to be patient. Just like Rome, it appears that the NHI is not to be built in one day.

I would love for all South Africans to have good health care. I would also love our schools to be well-equipped, our tertiary institutions not under-funded, our pensioners not living below the breadline. I would love everyone to have decent housing. In short, I would love there to be an end to poverty of all kinds. But these are not things to be achieved with a signature on a piece of paper.  They involve decades, if not centuries of planning, organic growth, attitude changes, and political will on an ongoing basis – and heaps and heaps of cash. Which we just don't have. Certainly not with the millions disappearing on luxuries and state corruption.

With very few exceptions, all people have to budget carefully for huge transport and housing costs, food, soaring electricity bills and school fees. Not to speak of medical insurance.

 
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