Gordhan reveals health care plan

2014-02-27 00:00

FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan has prescribed his own dosage of Obamacare — as American President Barack Obama’s affordable health care law is popularly known — to South Africans.

Addressing Parliament yesterday, Gordhan revealed the far-reaching reforms government had taken to make quality health care affordable for all South Africans.

He said a white paper by the Department of Health and a financing paper by his department have been completed and will be tabled in cabinet shortly.

Gordhan said the National Health Insurance (NHI) will be based on two pillars: improvements to public health delivery and reducing the high costs of private health care. This approach, which is supported by the World Health Organisation, will also find favour among all South Africans.

Pilot NHI districts are already in place in every province and, in addition to hospital and clinic building and refurbishment programmes, R1,2 billion has been allocated for general practitioners’ contracts.

An Office of Health Standards Compliance will ensure public health care meets the required standards.

Gordhan said the improvements in health care over the past five years are illustrated by the rise in life expectancy, the reduction in infant, child and maternal mortality, and the way access to anti-retroviral drugs has changed people’s lives.

This year, Gordhan allocated R145,7 billion to the Health Department. Of this allocation, R52,2 billion will be earmarked for district health services, R26,7 billion to provincial hospitals; R24,3 billion to central hospital services, and almost R20 billion to other health services. He allocated R15,3 billion for the treatment of HIV/Aids and TB, while health infrastructure received R7,7 billion.

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