- May 30, 2011
I would like to hear from those working at Medical Aid Groups what the feeling is with the NHI looming over us all. What are your plans for the future, if you can share some of your management thinking?
I can't disagree more, if anything it would mean more regulation for their costing surelyThe NHI is mostly to benefit the private hospital groups. Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare -- their lawyers probably wrote most of the bill. The business case is straightforward: private hospitals currently only benefit from rich private-health-insurance clients, who are a tiny minority of the population. If poorer patients could also use their facilities -- paid for by taxpayers -- the hospital groups stand to make A LOT more money.
Medical aids I'm not so sure about. But chances are they will benefit too, possibly by intermediating between the hospital groups and the government, hospital groups and the pharmaceutical industry, etc. More money sloshing around in healthcare can't possibly hurt them, anyway.
The lawyers have been feeding at the trough during the era of State Capture. The medical professionals will feed next.
That's my take on it.
Now, that's cause for concern.The CEO of Discovery seems pretty optimistic about NHI -
Isn't Discovery on the cards for the implementation of the system?
more due to an analyst poking some holes in their life book valuation. She valued it a certain way... check out twitter - David Shapiro.Well... Discovery shares are down 20% in 3 days...
Since the release of the NHI Bill on Thursday last week, the extent of negative sentiment from press, investment markets and other stakeholders has been substantial. I wanted to reach out to you and share some thoughts.
The NHI is a huge, complex and multi-decade initiative and a considerable amount of debate and effort will be required to make it workable. Our position on NHI is unequivocal: we are supportive of an NHI that assists in strengthening and improving the healthcare system for all South Africans - little is more important. You will know that we have consistently expressed our support and made our capabilities available for its development. We are committed to assisting where we can in building it, and making it workable and sustainable. Of course, debates about its timing, affordability, execution and more will no doubt be complex.
A central issue that we are close to and upon which we must comment is the future role of private healthcare and medical schemes – what it means for medical schemes to provide “complimentary cover ” to the NHI and when this will take effect. Our strong view is that substantially limiting the role of medical schemes would be counterproductive to the NHI because there are simply insufficient resources to meet the needs of all South Africans - this is an unavoidable reality. Limiting people from purchasing the medical scheme coverage they seek will seriously curtail the healthcare they expect and demand - this will erode sentiment, denude the country of skills and impact the economy. Crucially, this approach will burden the NHI with demand that would drain the very resources that must be used for people in most need. This would be detrimental to all South Africans and would undermine the objectives of the NHI as we understand it.
While this is our strong view, the Bill needs clarification since it makes the point that the “complimentary role” for medical schemes will only apply once the NHI is “fully implemented”. It defines “referral pathways” to which it will apply, indicating that where patients choose not to follow the referral pathways, the NHI will not reimburse their care, and that they can then claim from private health insurance. The Bill clearly gives rise to different interpretations - we will engage actively and constructively on this issue to ensure that the important role of medical schemes and private healthcare remains part of the healthcare system, together with the NHI.
Having said this, we remain deeply confident that the resulting environment will be rational and workable. I must stress that our plans for Discovery Health remain the same. If anything, the future will be more complex and the need to invest in capabilities and technology are likely to increase substantially. That is what we plan to do.
Discovery is committed to playing its role in building a positive future - for our members, South Africa’s doctors and healthcare professionals, and for all South Africans.