Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is resolutely sticking to the government’s ambitious goal of implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) by 2025, despite the dramatic downturn in the economy since the policy was first flighted six years ago. The government’s latest white paper on NHI still refers to the cost projections in the 2011 green paper, which say the annual cost of NHI in 2025 will be R256bn in 2010 terms, assuming the economy grows 3.5% a year. Yet the latest Reserve Bank prediction is for GDP growth of a mere 1% in 2017 and 1.5% for 2018. "I think it is really worrying that we have an official government document with 2010 figures, when supposedly there has been a lot of work done to develop the policy," said Econex economist Mariné Erasmus. "The lack of acknowledgement of the economic downturn that we are in is really concerning. Even if they just extended the time lines and allowed for a slower implementation period that would have at least given an indication that the...

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