Mediclinic says more clarity needed on NHI Bill

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Private hospital group Mediclinic says it supports the government’s plan of providing universal health coverage, but has stressed that more clarity is needed regarding the legislation.

The statement follows the tabling of the draft bill in Parliament last week, paving the way for its debate by various houses and the process of public consultation.

Mediclinic said the implementation of the system will require changes to a range of existing pieces of legislation, as outlined in the NHI Bill.

It also raised concern that there was "some ambiguity regarding the scope of contracting for private provider services" with the NHI fund. 

The company said it would "continue to collaborate and contribute in this process towards attaining greater clarity and certainty".

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 system will allow private providers to contract with medical schemes offering complementary coverage.

"Mediclinic will continue to actively engage in the development of the NHI to gain clarity and ensure that sustainable solutions are put forward that leverage private sector providers and funders to achieve the objectives of universal health care," said Mediclinic in a statement.

"The key consequence of the creation of the Fund will be the capacity for the purchasing of health care services from both public and private providers. Mediclinic supports this proposal and believes that a transparent, scientific framework for strategic purchasing will aid in strengthening accountability and enhancing access within the healthcare system," the statement added.

The NHI Fund will be implemented in two phases over a nine-year period and it is envisaged that all South Africans will be covered by NHI by 2025. According to the 2017 NHI White Paper, NHI will cost R256bn in the 2025/2026 financial year at 2010 prices.

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