President Cyril Ramaphosa says the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill will soon be ready for submission to Parliament.
"The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities.
"By applying the principle of social solidarity and cross-subsidisation, we aim to reduce inequality in access to health care," he said.
"Realising the magnitude of the challenges in health care, we have established an NHI and quality improvement War Room in the Presidency consisting of various key departments to address the crisis in the public health system while preparing for the implementation of the NHI.
"We have a funded national quality health improvement plan to improve every clinic and hospital that will be contracted by the NHI.
"By introducing the NHI together with a multi-pronged quality improvement programme for public health facilities, we are working towards a massive change in the health care experience of South Africans," Ramaphosa said.
The president was delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday night. It is the 25th SONA of a democratic South Africa.
Last year Ramaphosa said the wheels would start turning on NHI - a policy to ensure access to universal health coverage.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi subsequently gazetted the NHI bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment bill.
NHI is a proposed state-run health financing system that aims to pool funds to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans regardless of their economic status. The Medical Schemes Bill is aligned to the NHI Bill, Fin24 reported previously.
All South Africans are meant to be covered by NHI by 2025.