The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has passed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, setting the scene for an intensified pushback from business, healthcare professionals and opposition parties.

“It is a historic day and a historic achievement. We are putting in place a framework ... to transform health services, create equity and make sure the perpetual division of South Africans — at least in health — can come to an end,” health minister Joe Phaahla said during the debate on the bill on Wednesday afternoon, which saw ANC MPs emphasise the party’s 1955 Freedom Charter promise to provide free medical care and its ambitions to eliminate SA’s two-tier health system...

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