NHI takes off in districts

2012-02-24 11:42

In the wake of the budget allocations this week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has warned South Africans not to expect miracles when the National Health Insurance (NHI) pilots in April.

Motsoaledi says the only change people will witness at the pilot sites is refurbishment of infrastructure and hiring of medical specialists and more nurses.

The National Health Insurance pilot project will be rolled out in 10 districts yet to be announced.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that R1 billion has been allocated for the project.

Said Motsoaledi: “All that money is earmarked for infrastructure revitalisation and hiring and training medical professionals in the selected districts.

“The pilot project will have little bearing on the public as it will be about laying the foundation. We will be focusing on strengthening the infrastructure and human resources as these two aspects are crucial in providing quality healthcare.”

The aim of the National Health Insurance is to provide quality healthcare to all South Africans, regardless of their socio-economic status.

The system will be phased in over the next 14 years and will be compulsory for all people who earn above a certain threshold to contribute to the fund.

While no contributions will be required in the next two years, Gordhan warned this week that an additional revenue source of about R6 billion will be needed in 2014/15 to fund the National Health Insurance.

But, he said: “The funding model has not yet been determined as the discussion paper on revenue options will be released later this year.”

Gordhan said the government was looking at funding options such as increasing the VAT rate, payroll tax (payable by both employees and employers) and a surcharge on the taxable income of individuals.

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