Motsoaledi urges health fee regulation

2011-07-04 17:42

Johannesburg - Heath Minister Aaron Motsoaledi called for the regulation of healthcare fees, at the Board of Healthcare Funders' annual conference at Sun City on Monday, SABC news reported.

He said manufacturers of antiretrovirals (ARVs) originally told the government it was not possible to reduce the cost of the life-saving HIV/Aids medication because it was expensive.

"We said 'give us the costs', and when the costs were given, we found that it was not true, it's not as expensive as that," Motsoaledi said.

"And you remember we reduced ARV (prices) by 50%, didn't we? We did. But before that we are being told all these stories about costs."

Motsoaledi elicited a swift response from the private health care industry last week after he broke down the cost of a circumcision in a private hospital.

According to a presentation by him, posted on the BHF's website for Monday's conference, hospital fees alone ranged between R4 184 and R13 900, excluding urologist and anaesthetist fees.

These hospital fees did not include an overnight stay. In contrast one of the urologists could do the procedure for R1 500 in his rooms, and GPs in townships charged between R600 and R1 200.

After a similar presentation last week private healthcare providers said state hospitals charged less because they were subsided by taxpayers.

Whether medical schemes have to pay in full the minimum prescribed benefits or not to their clients is currently the subject of a court appeal.