Health insurance

National health insurance: this is how it will work

National health insurance is a controversial issue in South Africa. Also known as NHI, it would give the government control over healthcare in the country. Anthea Jeffery of the IRR has written extensively on the subject, noting that “this must be achieved by placing private providers under full state control, regulating all bankrupt medical plans and leaving the country (according to the words of the former Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi) with a single “giant state-run medical aid”: the NHI Fund. Below, John-Kane Berman examines how NHI’s plans may have been damaged by the Digital Vibes scandal. The former IRR CEO also looks at opponents of the proposed government plan and concludes on four key points. “Even if the ANC cannot be persuaded to abandon its NHI plans, their implementation may be delayed. Preferably indefinitely. Or until the ANC no longer has the parliamentary figures to enact the necessary constitutional amendments. Listen to a BizNews interview with FMF’s Chris Hattingh on National Health Insurance below. – Jarryd Neves

We now know how Health Insurance will work

Following the release of the Digital Vibes report last week, Acting Chief Health Officer Nicholas Crisp was asked if this scandal had hurt the government’s plans for National Health Insurance (NHI).

“That does not distract us from the solution,” Dr. Crisp reportedly replied. “This can have an impact on the debate in parliament and can influence how they may want to rephrase what is in the [NHI] invoice. But from an implementation point of view, we think it’s still a good idea and the best way to serve people. ‘

Anyone who has an understanding of the African National Congress (ANC) knows that Dr. Crisp is wrong to claim that NHI is the best way to provide service to people. Unfortunately, he is undoubtedly correct that the ANC will go ahead anyway.

It is a threat, but also an opportunity. Since the ANC first mentioned its inception, various groups and individuals have subjected the NHI to scrutiny and opposition on various grounds.

The report of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) into the Digital Vibes affair can now be exploited to mobilize even more opposition to INSA by repeatedly warning the public that it will also be plagued by ” serious misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence ”, as well as“ irregular, unnecessary and unnecessary expenses ”and even“ fraud ”.

It is now the standard package that comes with the ANC, with the deployment of cadres, racial quotas, nepotism and corruption. A few people could be prosecuted, but there is no reason to believe that the ANC’s modus operandi will fundamentally change.

The few hundred million Rand involved in the Digital Vibes saga will seem insignificant compared to the countless billions that will lure potential looters into the vast bureaucracy that the NHI will set up across the country.

INSA opponents

Opportunities to widen the circle of opponents of INSA are to be seized by the opposition parties, the communication media, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, health professionals, but also the various components of the organization. private health sector.

Some members of the latter constituency were cautious in what they said in public. Businesses are generally reluctant to criticize the government. Some companies see the NHI as a business opportunity. Some no doubt think they can help make it work more efficiently. Some may see it as inevitable and that they should now be positioning themselves to make the best – and best – possible out of it.

Fair enough. But the Digital Vibes scandal is just the latest in a whole series, dating back to the arms deal announced in 1999, which speaks to the corruption that is now so deeply rooted in the ANC that so many of its politicians and officials automatically seek looting. opportunities as soon as they reach positions of influence or power. When it comes to helping themselves, they can’t help themselves.

INSA is supposed to be about health care, but it’s really about political control. We know because that’s what the ANC told us. The capture of all the centers of power by the deployment of cadres is one of the components of the democratic national revolution to which the ANC and its communist allies are committed. Antipathy to private property is another element, as clearly shown by the draft constitutional amendments to increase the ANC’s expropriation powers.

The question, as always, is how to thwart these goals.

So far, opponents of uncompensated expropriation, led by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), have succeeded in combating what has been essentially rearguard action against the expropriation. Public education, political lobbying, parliamentary committee submissions, procedural and constitutional challenges, and corporate challenges were among the tactics used as part of a broader strategy to prevent the state from authorizing itself. to confiscate private property.

Four essential points

NHI justifies a similar opposition, using similar tactics. Four essential points must be taken into account. The first is that the NHI is unaffordable. The second is that the ANC is unable to manage a national health insurance system anyway. He is too incompetent, too contemptuous of responsibility, and too corrupt.

The third is that NHI is an ideological project. If the ANC’s real concern was health, it would have long ago solved the problems of the public health sector. This remains the central challenge, which the ANC should not be allowed to shirk with a propaganda offensive against the private sector.

Recognizing that NHI is driven ideologically, rather than a serious concern for the poor and the sick, will allow private health care companies to avoid making the mistake of saying “we support NHI, but …” C ‘ is a trap, because it shifts the debate on the reasons retained by the ANC: that it is necessary to destroy the private health rather than the fixed public health.

The fourth is that even if the ANC cannot be persuaded to abandon its NHI plans, their implementation may be delayed. Preferably indefinitely. Or until the ANC no longer has the parliamentary figures to enact the necessary constitutional amendments.

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  • John Kane-Berman, a graduate of Wits and Oxford (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), is a former CEO of IRR. Prior to that, he spent ten years in journalism, where he was deputy editor of the Financial Mail and South African correspondent for many foreign newspapers. He is the author of several books on South African politics and has also published his memoirs.

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