The newly published National Health Insurance (NHI) bill and Medical Schemes Amendment bill are progressive pieces of legislation that will revolutionarise healthcare provision especially for the benefit of the poor, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) says.
The NHI would raise resources required to address inequalities while ensuring that all citizens accessed quality healthcare which was currently the preserve of the rich, Sanco acting spokesperson Motlalepula Rosho said.
Opposition to the proposed law was largely influenced by sections of the private healthcare sector and pharmaceutical companies currently deriving “excessive benefits from medical aid schemes that have no interest whatsoever in expanding affordable medical care to the poor”, Rosho charged.
She added that the laws as tabled would substantially reduce the cost of healthcare in the country which she said was the highest in the world.
Under the Medical Schemes Amendment legislation, patients with medical aid would not have to pay additional fees or “co-payments” should the schemes not cover the entire cost of care from doctors or hospitals.
It would also see vaccinations‚ primary and preventative care and contraceptives paid for by medical aids, which generally do not cover preventative health care.