National health insurance (NHI) is fast moving towards a reality, with treasury announcing that an NHI fund will be established this year as the country heads towards the next phase of providing universal health coverage. While the white paper on the NHI is still being revised and finalised, treasury and the health department are working on a sustainable long-term financial framework. The fund aims to improve access to services such as maternal health care, wheelchair access, family planning and mental health care. Initially it will also serve to expand school health-care programmes. Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said that, in setting up the fund, treasury will weigh all the options, including possible adjustments to the tax credit on medical scheme contributions.

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