health insurance might hit a snag

THE chances of implementing the proposed National Health Insurance in the next few months are very slim.

THE chances of implementing the proposed National Health Insurance in the next few months are very slim.

The government and the ministerial advisory committee on NHI are working around the clock on how best it can make this state-controlled single-payer system work for everybody. But challenges keep emerging, especially as far as costing is concerned.

Economists have speculated that taxpayers will have to pay an extra R244billion for the NHI to work. The government has disputed the figures, but those in the know are saying the amount is correct and might be more.

Ministerial advisory committee member Norman Mabasa refused to comment on the speculated figures, saying the committee was not allowed to advise the minister of health through the media.

"It is a fact that medical inflation has always been high worldwide and I do not expect it to go down on the implementation of NHI. For anyone to say it will be cheap would be unrealistic."

Mabasa, chairperson of the South African Medical Association, would not divulge details to Sama members at the weekend.

He told doctors at the University of Potchefstroom to discuss the effect of NHI, that he could not give them further details because of the confidentiality involved.

Under the NHI all people living in South Africa will have access to quality healthcare. Though there would be a single-payer system, individuals wanting to top up with medical aids would be allowed to do so.

But it will be compulsory for taxpayers to contribute to the NHI fund.

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