Cabinet has approved the long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, the government’s first and most crucial piece of legislation for implementing its goal of universal healthcare. NHI aims to provide healthcare to everyone that is free at the point of delivery, financed in a way that sees the healthy and wealthy subsidise the poor and the sick. The bill, which was approved by the Cabinet last Wednesday, has yet to be published in the Government Gazette. But Business Day understands from several independent sources that it closely follows the Department of Health’s second NHI white paper, which was released in 2017. Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi declined to comment on the bill, saying he would do so at a media briefing in due course. The bill does not provide any details about how NHI will be financed, leaving that to the Treasury to determine. Instead, it sets out the legal mechanism for establishing an NHI Fund, which will purchase services from accredited public and pri...

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