Anger at NHI secrecy

2010-08-01 07:50

kalahari.com

Cape Town - Government should break the secrecy over the national health insurance (NHI) and give grassroots stakeholders a say in policy formation, academics and activists said at a seminar on the proposed system on Saturday.

"There is no public engagement in this process, the government has removed itself from public participation in healthcare," said Damaris Kiewiets from the Cape Metro Health Forum.

She argued that district health committees had to demand to be funded properly and to be made part of the process because their members truly understood the healthcare crisis.

The Treatment Action Campaign said it had no idea "what this NHI looks like" and believed government should be confronted with a clear set of demands from people in the field and the public.

Chief among these, TAC representative Lydia Cairncross said, was that the NHI should create a single, free healthcare system that distanced itself from private healthcare.

The State should stop subsidising the private system by immediately suspending the tax exemption for medical aid contributions, which cost Treasury between R10bn and R15bn a year, she said.

Single system


"We have to campaign for the health system we want. We want a single system, funded from a single tax base. We should strike the tax subsidy tomorrow. We say we don't have money but there is R15bn floating about which we are devoting to the private healthcare system."

The one-day seminar, held at the University of Cape Town, heard a range of views on the future of the private system, ranging from angry calls to nationalise it to a more moderate stance put forward by Cosatu that eventually public and private systems should merge.

"We need one healthcare system for all our people. If the level of service in the public sector is what it should be, then there will be no need for a private sector based on what we see as profit motivation," said the labour federation's Western Cape secretary general Tony Ehrenreich.

He agreed that the tax exemption was "a prejudice to the public purse" but said it was not an answer to dismantle the private health system in the absence of a viable alternative.

David Sanders, the director of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, said South Africans lived with "a myth that the private health system is great".

In fact it was inefficient and overpriced and often left medical aid subscribers to pay out of their own pocket as their benefits dried up.

He also voiced concerns about the tax exemption, arguing that there was perception that only the relatively wealthy were taxed while in fact the poor carried a proportionately unfair tax burden because of value added tax.

'Lack of transparency'


Sanders said the country's health crisis would only be resolved if there was a strong social movement informing the government of people's needs and holding it to account.

"The issue will only be resolved when there is a strong democratic movement that holds government to account," he told delegates.

Sanders told Sapa he believed the State's plans around NHI were in very early planning stages and probably shrouded in secrecy as a result of fears that leaks would prompt doctors to leave the country.

"There is a lack of transparency ... the discussions are taking place behind very closed doors, " Sanders said.

"I suspect the secrecy is because the private sector has been so antagonistic towards it that the government was worried about the loss of medical care professionals.

The policy is in the hands of the inter-ministerial committee on national health insurance, from where it will go to Cabinet.

Ehrenreich said Cosatu felt sidelined from the policy discussions and planned to raise the issue with government.

"It is of great concern to us. There is a lot of silence around the NHI and consultation has been inadequate from the side of government."
- SAPA
Read more on:    nhi  |  health
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.