BREAKING NEWS - NHI Bill gazetted, paving way for NHI fund.
This is the first piece of enabling legislation for realising the government’s ambitions for introducing universal healthcare
THE National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has been published in the government gazette, paving the way for the health department to set up an NHI fund that will purchase healthcare services on behalf of the population. It is the first piece of enabling legislation for realising the government’s ambitions for introducing universal healthcare. NHI is at heart a set of health financing reforms that the government hopes will change SA’s deeply inequitable access to healthcare, with wealthier people paying for generally high-quality private healthcare services while less well-off people depend on a patchy public healthcare service. The government plans to introduce universal healthcare that is free at the point of delivery for everyone, based on the social solidarity principles those who can afford to do so will subsidise those who cannot. The Bill proposes establishing an NHI Fund, which will purchase services from accredited public and private sector providers that have been certified by the Office of Health Standards Compliance. A key aspect of the bill that is likely to elicit fierce debate is its provision for annual price determination. This task will fall to a health benefits pricing committee, answerable to the NHI Fund board and the Health Minister. Patients will have to register with the fund, and will have to follow its rules about referrals, which means they will not be allowed to go directly to a specialist or an academic hospital except in an emergency. The bill says “comprehensive health service benefits” must be purchased by the fund. These benefits will be determined by an advisory committee. The bill is silent on how the fund will be financed, saying only that the Health Minister must determine the budget and allocation of revenue to the fund in consultation with the Finance Mi0nister on an annual basis. Interested parties have three months to comment.
- For a copy of the National Health Insurance Bill please use the link below:
Tamar Kahn: BusinessLIVE, 21 June 2018