Some residents in the Eastern Cape want the immediate implementation of the planned National Health Insurance during public hearings on the NHI Bill in Mbatha in the OR Tambo district municipality, parliament’s portfolio committee on health said.
The government tabled the NHI Bill in parliament in August, saying it wanted to ensure affordable quality healthcare to all South Africans, but critics say it will collapse the sector.
National Health Insurance report
In a statement late on Monday, parliament committee chairman Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said Mbatha residents had called for the public release of a report on how the NHI had been rolled out on pilot sites.
“The public hearings in Mthatha were educational to me especially on the understanding of the concept of universal health coverage as espoused by the NHI,” Dhlomo said.
Some residents believed the commercialisation and privatisation of the healthcare ran contrary to universal healthcare coverage, especially to the poor, and said the NHI Bill should deter the outsourcing of services as this presented an opportunity for corruption.
During the hearings, practitioners from the South African Medical Association urged the department of health to work with other stakeholders to iron out teething challenges experienced during the pilot phase.
Dhlomo urged both the national and provincial departments of health to furnish the committee with reports of progress in rolling out universal healthcare.