Update on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill

The National Treasury today issued the following statement:

The development of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has involved wide consultation with broad sections of society since its publication for public comment.

This process of consultation, which included the Presidential NHI Consultative meeting of the 24th August 2018, has enabled Government to ensure that all considered views are available for the review of the draft Bill.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is providing leadership and stewardship of the NHI process, has reiterated the commitment of the South African Government to overcome the current two-tier health system, its inequities and inefficiencies through the progressive implementation of the NHI. The work of Government on NHI is guided by the core principles which were first laid out in the NHI White Paper in 2015. These core principles refer to universal health coverage on the basis of need rather than ability to pay; greater social solidarity through cross-subsidisation; and the creation of a single common pool of funding through the National Health Insurance Fund.

To ensure a successful execution of the NHI programme, a NHI War Room has been established in the Presidency, and involves all relevant government departments. Officials from the Presidency, the Department of Health, National Treasury and other government departments have been working together on the revised draft National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

The National Treasury letter referred to in media reports this morning [editors note: a reference to the article in the Business Day entitled ‘Treasury butts heads with Ramaphosa’s adviser over unilateral NHI changes’] was part of the vibrant and ongoing engagement to ensure policy coherence. We have made substantial progress on key areas and have reached agreement on most of the major issues. Many of the issues raised by Treasury have been substantively addressed. We are confident that we will soon publish this important Bill for tabling in Parliament.

More details will be published once this process is completed and the Bill is approved by Cabinet. The NHI must be adequately funded and successfully implemented while reducing the risks involved in the implementation of such a large and complex programme. The implementation of the NHI and improvements in the quality of the health system go hand in hand and are therefore being addressed concurrently.

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