The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill’s passage through parliament last week is being triumphantly hailed by the ANC as a key milestone towards achieving universal health coverage. Nothing could be further from the truth.          

This is not a piece of legislation that has been developed in a rational process but a blunt, ideologically driven instrument that has been bludgeoned through each step of the public consultation process with an eye on the ruling party’s political calendar, be it an ANC conference or an election. At no point since the green paper on NHI was released for public comment in 2011 has either the executive or the legislature reshaped it in any meaningful way, despite legitimate and constructive critiques from a variety of stakeholders...

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