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By Editorial staff

Journalist


NHI Bill may spell ‘health shedding’

The SA Medical Association (Sama) is preparing to fight the government in court over National Health Insurance (NHI).


This was much more than a “canary in the coal mine” moment – it was a full-on flashing red light danger warning.

When the SA Medical Association (Sama) says it is getting ready to fight the government in court over National Health Insurance (NHI), you need to realise a disaster could be looming.

There have been plenty of warnings from various quarters over the past decade about the dangers of the implementation of the ANC’s utopian dream of “free health care for all”.

ALSO READ: Doctors cite the NHI’s dangers

Sama chair Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa said this week that our “crumbling health care system” would not be cured by the NHI.

There was already a shortage of doctors – with a ratio of 0.35 doctors to 1 000 people in the public system, compared to 1.75 per 1 000 in the private sector.

Forcing doctors to become part of one national system might drive even more medics to look for greener pastures abroad, he said, adding: “It will be a sad day in South Africa when we allow these young, innovative minds to leave and go abroad and advance other countries, having used taxpayers’ money [to study].”

It has been said before – and is applicable to many sectors – that you do not bring equality through dragging down the high; you do it by elevating the low.

ALSO READ: ‘NHI Bill must pass constitutional muster’: Call on Ramaphosa not to sign it into law

Grabbing the supposed riches of the private sector and trying to use those to bring about equity might sound fine in the lecture rooms of the ANC political school but, in practice, it will result in an overall decline in the quality of services in all institutions, both government and those that were formerly private.

Yet, despite the opposition from many quarters, the ANC appears determined to forge ahead.

The Bill has been signed. We hope we are not looking at “health shedding” in future.

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National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill