DA's NHI outlook pretentious: ANC

2011-12-07 16:40
Cape Town - The ANC on Wednesday took issue with the Democratic Alliance over its stance on the proposed national health insurance (NHI) system.

The DA's statement on the NHI earlier this week could be described as "pretentious, reckless, and... inconsiderate" of the health needs of the poor, National Assembly health committee chairperson Bevan Goqwana said in a statement.

On Monday, DA spokesperson Mike Waters said the poor would likely suffer more under the NHI.

The DA's research showed that, not only were there serious doubts around the feasibility of the NHI, but that it would actually work against its stated objective to provide better health services for all.

"We believe that the poor will suffer more under the NHI because it will divert billions of rands from other development challenges such as provision of basic services, education, and housing," Waters said.

Goqwana said this statement was "very unfortunate".

"It is a known fact that access to healthcare in our country is still characterised by the depth of one's pocket and their overall socio-economic standing in society."

About 87% of the population was dependent on the country's over-stretched and under-resourced public health system, weighed down by the increasing burden of disease.

On the other hand, the country had a highly resourced private health sector that serviced the needs of a mere 13% of the population.

It was within this context that the decision had been made to introduce the NHI as part of bringing about equity in the provision of healthcare.

"It is this simple reality that the Hon Waters and his party need to understand and accept."

The committee would in due course start with the process of public hearings which would allow all South Africans, rich and poor, to articulate their views on the matter, Goqwana said.

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