NHI taxnot in the short term

2011-09-26 00:00

THE tax to fund the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) system will not be introduced in the short term, said the deputy director-general, public finance, in the national Treasury, Andrew Donaldson.

He told the Hospital Association of South Africa conference in Cape Town that it is difficult to raise additional taxes at this stage. “Discussion papers on the matter will be released early next year before financing arrangements for healthcare are changed. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had raised several options for increasing the funding required for NHI, but no decision has been taken on specific funding arrangements.”

Donaldson said increasing expenditure on public healthcare from four to 6,2 % of GDP, as estimated in the NHI green paper on, would place a substantial strain on the country’s public finances.

A shortage of doctors and nurses in the public sector will limit the amount that can be spent on NHI, hence the need to merge public and private procurement arrangements, he said.

The integration of supply chain management between the two sectors could help lower costs and bring modern logistics into the delivery of healthcare for the public. “Public and private hospitals would be placed on a level playing field under NHI.”

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