24 February 2019

Funds for NHI to be redirected to improving health services

Money Web 20 February 2019 - Finance minister Tito Mboweni revealed on Wednesday a national budget that includes changes intended to improve the public health system and address funding for initiatives such as national health insurance (NHI).

The only reference to the issue of funding for NHI was the flatlining of medical tax credits – a move that is expected to generate additional revenue of R1 billion in 2019/20. Spending in the NHI programme is set to increase at an average annual rate of 36.6%, from R1.2 billion in 2018/19 to R3 billion in 2021/22. While Mboweni made it clear that NHI remains on government’s priority list, R2.8 billion from the NHI indirect grant will now be redirected to address staff shortages and other problems in public healthcare facilities. Sugar tax fizzes up - The health promotion levy, implemented for the first time last year, will go up from 2.1c per gram after the first four grams of sugar to 2.21c per gram with effect from April 1 this year. For the article click here

Medical tax credits will remain the same

Sunday Times 24 February 2019 – The medical tax credits will not increase

This is a meaningful decrease in this tax break as medical inflation is hovering at a good few percentage points above the January inflation rate of 4%. The money the government saves through this measure is earmarked for the proposed National Health Insurance Fund.

Discovery partner in China's huge market is in robust health

Sunday Times 24 February 2019 - Discovery entered the health insurance market in China in 2010 when it acquired a 25% stake in a subsidiary of one of China's biggest insurance companies, Ping An Health

Discovery's strategy to expand into China is paying off as the country's 1.4-billion people grow private health insurance into an industry worth nearly R2-trillion. Growth in SA's private health-care sector is increasingly difficult to achieve; the number of insured lives has been stagnant at about 8-million since 2014. This has sparked diversification into other business lines and/or expansion into foreign markets. For the article click here

Vaccination drive is in full swing

Sunday Independent 24 February 2019 – The campaign to protect girls against cervical cancer is in full swing across public schools across Johannesburg.

Trained and equipped city health workers are visiting 520 schools to administer the human papillomavirus (HPV1) vaccine to girl learners aged nine years.

Intervention yields healthy results

Saturday Star 23 February 2019 – The work to rebuild the North West Department of Health is helping to restore quality health services.

Since the implementation of Section 100(1)(b) – a constitutional prescript which allows national government to take over responsibilities when a provincial department fails to fulfil its obligations – there has been strong inroads into turning around the department.

Cancer drug pricing gets in the way of treatment in developing countries

BizCommunity 22 February 2019 - When cancer is detected at an early stage – and when coupled with appropriate treatment – the chance of survival beyond five years is dramatically higher.

Early diagnosis can also reduce the cost of treatment. Despite this, millions of cancer cases are found late. This results in expensive and complex treatment options, diminished quality of life, and avoidable deaths. This situation is exacerbated by the high cost of treatment and, in particular, the high cost of newer cancer medication. For the article click here

WATCH: Why Adrian Gore is not worried about Discovery’s dip in profit

Business Day 22 February 2019 - Discovery has posted a 16% drop in headline earnings for the first half.

The drop in earnings is largely due to the fact that it spent on new businesses, particularly the launch of its banking operations. CEO Adrian Gore joined Business Day TV to talk about the group’s interim results and new its costly new initiatives. Click here to view the interview


Medical scheme Profmed has appointed Craig Comrie as principal officer and CEO. He succeeds Graham Anderson

#BudgetSpeech2019: Will it lead to more doctors being sued for negligence?

BizCommunity 21 February 2019 - Legal claims against the department now amount to more than half of some provincial health budgets. Less money now will only mean more claims later.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s latest budget reveals that per capita spending on public health will decline for the second year in a row — and health infrastructure spending will bear the brunt of the cuts. Total health expenditure in 2019/20 is proposed to be R222.6bn, this is R700m less than what was projected in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement released last year. On paper, the health budget grew by 7%. But in reality, it shrunk. For the article click here

Adcock looks to AIDS tender to boost Wadeville plant

Business Day 21 February 2019 - CEO Andy Hall says the company will not go into tenders that do not pay because, as a listed company, it cannot afford to do unprofitable business

SA’s second-biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer Adcock Ingram expects its new AIDS drug contract with the state to improve the fortunes of its loss-making Wadeville plant, CEO Andy Hall said on Thursday as the company released its interim results to end-December. For the article click here

HEALTH: Funds for NHI shifted to ‘front line’

Business Day 21 February 2019 - Critical clinic and hospital staff shortages to be addressed by short-term spending realignment

The national health insurance (NHI) fund appears to have been placed temporarily on the backburner while the government tackles more immediate problems. This year’s proposed health budget is 6.6% higher, at R222.6bn. But take inflation into account, throw in 1.6% population growth and economists say that, in real terms, there’s actually less money to go around. Between now and 2022, R2.8bn has been allocated to fill gaps at hospitals and clinics. For the article click here https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/special-reports/2019-02-21-health-funds-for-nhi-shifted-to-front-line/

Looming NHI disaster would dwarf Eskom by Johann Serfontein

Business Day 21 February 2019 - The only way to fix the public health system is to introduce competent management at all levels. 

As much as the country is currently focused on the crisis in Eskom, the nation seems to have lost sight of the looming National Health Insurance (NHI) fund, which will be twice the size of the failing power utility in financial terms. The state of the nation address and recent launch of the presidential health summit report has only added to the uncertainty surrounding the NHI model and is still failing to address pragmatic issues surrounding the funding of the behemoth, such as what it will cost and how the state will render services within the NHI context. For the article click here

Publication date: 2/25/2019