LETTER: NHI is a sick invitation to failure
Why should a shrinking tax base fund a plan that will result in higher costs and less access to quality care?
Discovery CEO Adrian Gore’s recent comments refer (“NHI is morally correct but handle with care, says Discovery’s Adrian Gore,” May 13).
After a decade of state capture, and in the context of a dearth of meaningful structural reforms, there is no reason to believe that monopolising the management of health care in the hands of the state — as National Health Insurance (NHI) in its current form will require — will produce anything other than less access to quality care, higher costs and new avenues for cronyism and cadre deployment.
It is unclear why the under-pressure, shrinking SA tax base should be expected to fund a plan that will encourage medical personnel to leave the country, stifle innovation and bring all healthcare services down to the same low level.
Instead of NHI, the government should focus its resources on improving public facilities for those citizens who cannot afford private care. Citizens already pay taxes; the burden of proof rests on the government to show that these taxes can be used effectively.
Furthermore, having all the funds in the world would not solve the bureaucratic, structural issues; these would need to be resolved before anything even resembling an NHI could be contemplated.
More bureaucracy and administrative powers for politicians will not cure SA’s healthcare woes. While it is up to each business and corporation to decide how they wish to engage with the state in matters of collaboration, the default must always be the understanding that overbearing state power will not result in desirable outcomes.
Once the NHI is implemented, only those citizens and politicians with the deepest pockets will be able to head overseas for their healthcare needs. The vast majority of South Africans will not have that option. This is unconscionable.
Institute of Race Relations
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