- Jan 3, 2021
While disparate roleplayers in SA’s healthcare sector agree on major reforms and a right of people to access services, there is profound disagreement on the role of the private sector and medical aids in the future of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
This is according to research and interviews conducted by Section 27 and consultancy Concentric Alliance with numerous stakeholders on how to work together to fix the "fatal" stagnation in the healthcare sector. A report on the findings highlighted that people were interviewed from the national and provincial departments of health, health regulators, medical schemes, public and private health care workers, trade unions and private hospital groups, among others.
Their report found that the role of the private sector is one of the most contentious aspects of health reform in South Africa, particularly around medical schemes.
"The private health sector contributes significantly to the South African economy, is a large employer and many respondents in both the public and the private sector believe could be an important role player in health reform, having significant excess capacity and resources available," the report found.
The crux of the major disagreement is around Section 33 of the NHI Bill, which states that medical schemes may only provide cover that "constitutes complementary or top up cover and that does not overlap with the personal health care service benefits purchased by the National Health Insurance Fund on behalf of users".
A contentious provision in the National Health Insurance Bill has the potential to undermine the implementation of the scheme and delay urgent reform to the health system, according to a report by Section 27.