The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill introduced to the National Assembly aims to move SA towards universal health coverage. The term means something different from either a general legal entitlement for all people to get some type of care, or simply an affiliation to any type of health insurance (or medical scheme as they are known in SA) programme.

On one level, universal health coverage is an aspiration — that all people can get the services they need, of good quality, without fear of financial hardship. That “achievement” is just an aspiration because every country, no matter how rich, does not provide everything for everyone...

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