Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s plans for a uniform tariff for healthcare services may prompt doctors to quit the profession or seek jobs overseas. The minister said last week the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, which he presented to a cabinet committee last Tuesday, contained proposals that would introduce a uniform tariff for healthcare providers and put an end to copayments. The intention was to provide greater certainty for consumers and medical schemes, he said. At present there are no regulations governing the rates that doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers charge. This means that two patients who receive identical services may receive different bills and face different out-of-pocket expenses depending on the bargaining power of the medical scheme they belong to, and the rules of the option they choose. If they are presented with a bill for a consultation or procedure that is more than the scheme is willing to pay, they will be liable for the balance. Leeway fo...

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