Funding figures vital for assessing the viability of NHI
The most important aspect of the NHI Bill — the money available for it — has been brushed aside, writes Johann Serfontein
Despite Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi not wanting to commit to even a rough estimate of costs of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, the failure thereof will be funding. This will include the lack of sufficient funding entering the fund and problems with payments from the fund. The South African economic situation is dire. Policy initiatives that were announced without consulting National Treasury have given SA a one percentage point increase in the VAT rate to fund free higher education. Going as far back as the 1970s, 80% of first-year students historically never graduated, so this investment would amount to a R40bn annual loss. Economic growth is at a standstill and unemployment is skyrocketing, with further increases expected due to the implementation of a national minimum wage. In this environment it is truly shocking that the most important aspect of the NHI Bill, namely the money available for it, was brushed aside by Motsoaledi as not being his problem.