18 August 2019

Discovery says NHI bill’s restriction of medical schemes is ‘counterproductive’

Business Day 16 August 2019 – Group says medical schemes will probably continue operating alongside National Health Insurance

Discovery, whose share price has been knocked by the advancement of the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, says while the legislation's restriction of SA's medical schemes would be counterproductive, it would not be a death knell for the industry. “Our view is that substantially limiting the role of medical schemes would be counterproductive to the NHI because there are simply insufficient resources to meet the needs of all South Africans — this is an unavoidable reality,” the group said on Friday. “Crucially, by preventing those who can afford it from using their medical scheme cover, the burden on the NHI will be increased and will drain the very resources that must be used for people in most need … This would be detrimental to all South Africans, and would undermine the objectives of the NHI as we understand it.”

Relax, NHI will not happen

Sunday Independent 18 August 2019 – Those were the words by economist Dawie Roodt as South Africa went into panic mode following the tabling of the National Health Insurance Bill in Parliament.

The NHI new funding mechanism would come into effect in 2026. However, Roodt said that to implement the NHI the government would need plenty of money which would place a bigger burden on its already strained coffers. Heinrich Volminck, executive director of Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), said they were concerned by the Bill in its current form, because the government wanted to build a colossal system on the back of one that was already broken.

Government says there is no threat to private practitioners

Sunday Independent 18 August 2019 – Special interest groups, organisations and members of the public would have the opportunity to give input into the National Health Insurance Bill

There are nationwide public hearings facilitated by the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Health in the coming weeks. Committee Chairperson Dr Sibongeseni Dhlomo said that everyone would have the chance to comment. He also cautioned those who questioned the readiness to implement the NHI. “ … we will fix clinics and hospitals as we go along..”

LETTER: Government confused about NHI

Business Day 16 August 2019 – State facilities should compete with private sector

Dr Kenosi Mosalakae wrote Therefore, for a government to provide quality healthcare to its citizens it has a moral obligation to provide adequate and well-equipped healthcare facilities and employ the best healthcare providers available. But the SA government seems to believe that enabling citizens to pay for healthcare is the magic wand that will deliver quality healthcare. The government provides healthcare to its citizens in the form of day clinics and hospitals that provide emergency treatment, immunisations and other such services. But ..

MPs seek assurance on constitutionality of NHI Bill

Sunday Independent 15 August 2019 - Parliament's health portfolio committee will request a meeting with the State Attorney to ascertain the constitutionality of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, committee chairman Sibongiseni Dhlomo said on Thursday.

"As the committee starts this process, we want to address the concerns raised by various people, including those who think they will find space to challenge the constitutionality of the NHI Bill," Dhlomo said in a statement.

EDITORIAL: NHI rethink needed, Mr President

Business Day 15 August 2019 – Investors fear that National Health Insurance will break what little still works in healthcare

The National Health Insurance (NHI), the ANC government’s grand plan for improving the nation’s health, is sending all the wrong signals to potential investors. For evidence of this, look no further than SA’s health stocks, some of which took a severe knock in the wake of last weeks’ publication of the National Health Insurance Bill. NHI has already done harm. For the past decade, it has distracted the national health department from getting on with fixing the public health system and allowed it to abdicate its stewardship of the poorly regulated private health-care sector. The publication of the bill, which is about to begin its passage through parliament, is only going to deepen the damage.

National Health Insurance will kill medical schemes, says institute

Business Day 15 August 2019 - Introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will destroy smaller medical schemes while allowing bigger ones to benefit from forced consolidation, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Thursday.

“It’s always interesting when medical schemes support the NHI. They are actually supporting something that’s going to lead to their business dying, which is very odd,” said Johann Serfontein, a senior consultant at health consultancy group HealthMan, during an SAIRR media briefing.  Wits professor Alex van den Heever said that most schemes and medical aid administrators told him in private conversations that they do not think NHI will work, but they support it publicly because it is the right thing to do politically.

Uncertainty over many aspects of NHI but govt ‘ready’ for corruption

Medical Brief 14 August 2019 - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the authorities are ready to tackle the threat of large-scale corruption to the National Health Insurance scheme

There is concern also over already escalating medical emigration, differing interpretations of what, if any, role medical schemes will play, the constitutionality of the Bill, and the ethical implications for private medical practitioners. News24 reports that announcing the introduction, Mkhize did not shy away from the threat of corruption that has seen the crippling of state-owned enterprises.

SA weighs shorter treatment for patients on Roche cancer drug

Medical Brief 14 August 2019 - The Health Department is considering shortening breast cancer treatment for patients eligible for Roche’s costly trastuzumab

A large study has found halving the duration of therapy to six months was just as effective as a year, and reduced the risk of dangerous heart problems.Business Day reports that the high cost of trastuzumab has been a barrier to treatment in both the public and private sector in South Africa. 

Prostate cancer patients forced to wait 3 years for treatment at Charlotte Maxeke

The Star 14 August 2019 - According to the DA Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom, the waiting times for cancer treatment at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital have worsened over the years.

About 400 prostate cancer patients are expected to wait for at least 10 months to three years for treatment. Bloom said that the four Linear Accelerator machines which treat cancer patients, have all broken down at least once since January 2018.One of the two Cobalt machines has been broken for three years and one of the two simulators has not been working for two years, he said.

SAPPF vetoes proposed NHI model

BizCommunity 13 August 2019 - While it supports the concept of universal health coverage and access to quality healthcare for all South Africans, the South African Private Practitioners Forum (SAPPF) does not support the National Health Insurance (NHI) model chosen by the South African government.

"We believe that the proposed NHI model will cause irreparable harm to the entire South African healthcare industry if the content of the current NHI Bill and NHI White Paper Policy is implemented. SAPPF is also concerned by attempts to implement NHI without the government providing any clarity on what the initiative might cost and how it will be funded in the current economic climate," says Dr Chris Archer, CEO: SAPPF.

Publication date: 8/18/2019