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Signing of NHI Bill into law has no effect yet

Disappointment as President prepares to sign flawed bill

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 The announcement that President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law this week without seeking much-needed revisions is disappointing, although not unexpected, according to the Health Funders Association (HFA).

"The HFA has been preparing for this day, despite our strong belief that a more collaborative approach between the public and private sectors is essential for achieving Universal Health Coverage [UHC] in a timely and effective manner," says Craig Comrie, HFA Chairperson.

"We are deeply disappointed that the opportunity to review certain flawed sections of the NHI Bill has been missed, as the HFA sees enormous potential for leveraging the strengths of both public and private healthcare to expand access to quality care for all South Africans.

“Throughout the NHI Bill's development process, the association submitted recommendations centred on collaboration and maximising the sustainability of healthcare provision through the use of a multi-funding model to build the South African healthcare system,” he says.

“Even with the President signing the NHI Bill into law on Wednesday, there will be no immediate impact on medical scheme benefits and contributions, nor any tax changes. The HFA is well prepared to defend the rights of medical scheme members and all South Africans to choose privately funded healthcare, where necessary.

“Our focus, as always, is on protecting and expanding access to quality healthcare for all South Africans. As we await the finer details of the President’s signing, we wish to assure all South Africans that we are ready for this next step,” Comrie says.

“The HFA will continue monitoring developments closely and share updates as necessary. Our goal remains the same: a healthcare system that works for all South Africans, and we will take all necessary actions to support that goal.”