SA population figures: who will pay for NHI?

RE The Witness coverage of the National Health Insurance Bill going before Parliament. I have checked a few figures regarding the population of South Africa as per government statistics.

The South African population is 58,78 million. Those age 15 and younger are 28,8 million who will not contribute to the NHI. Age 60 and older are nine million who most likely will not be able to contribute to the NHI except through the withdrawal of the tax refund in relation to medical-aid contributions, which in my case amount to R6 060 per year.

This means that there are only 20,98 million who would be able to pay NHI contributions — less those unemployed of just over six million.

If my calculations are correct, this leaves only 20,98 million to carry the burden of free health care for the 58,78 million residents of South Africa.

My own Discovery Medical Aid plus gap cover insurance comes to R63 956 per year. I am unable to calculate even 20% of the figure that would be needed to bring the standard of public hospitals up to that set by private hospitals.

If, as The Witness article suggests, there will be no private medical aid in future, how can the government fund the cost of free health care for 58 million South Africans when only 20,98 million will be paying in?

I agree that the playing fields need levelling, however, the problem is that the taxpayer base is very much smaller than, for example, the UK.

I would like the media to investigate and highlight the problems that will be faced if the NHI goes ahead in its present form, in order that the general public will be fully informed.

BOB STARMER

Pietermaritzburg

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