The recent cabinet adoption of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has brought about a renewed enthusiasm for this massive project. Dr Anban Pillay of the department of health is its promoter and zealot. Even MDs in the medical insurance industry soft-pedal the obvious threats it poses to their business models. Maybe this is just their public face. Be careful what you wish for.

We are told by Pillay that medical aids and private insurance will be allowed to co-exist with state provision. Sounds okay. But what he does not say is that very few procedures (really only cosmetic ones) will be allowed under private care. The NHI, if implemented in its currently planned form, will decimate the private health insurance business.

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