SA's pursuit of universal health care in much the same vein as that in the UK still remains as shrouded with uncertainty as it was when it began some seven years ago. The government has planned for National Health Insurance (NHI) to be in place by 2026, but the central question of how it will be funded remains unanswered. The UK introduced its scheme at the end of World War 2, more than 70 years ago. The idea behind NHI is that health care will be accessible to all South Africans at nearby facilities that will be staffed by private-sector contractors providing services to the public sector. Treasury insiders who spoke to Business Times on condition of anonymity said taxpayers might face a 1% hike in income tax to pay for NHI. They complained that planning for the scheme, in a country where less than 20% of the population has private health care, has been inadequate. Minister of health Aaron Motsoaledi says it is impossible to cost the scheme at this stage. "Many people are panicking...

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