The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced sweeping changes to the Medical Schemes Act which are aimed at aligning the Act with the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI).
Motsoaledi on Thursday announced that the National Health Insurance Bill had been gazetted, bringing it a step closer to achieving the government’s aim of universal healthcare.
Once passed, the NHI Bill will allow the health department to create a fund that will be used to purchase and provide healthcare to citizens in need.
The minister said the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill aims to introduce amendments to the act that are necessary as the implementation of the NHI will not be a once-off process but will take time.
He said meanwhile, as the NHI is implemented, the public was in need of relief from issues involving medical schemes.
Motsoaledi said the implementation of the NHI would take time and it would result in the massive reconfiguration of the country’s healthcare system.
Motsoaledi has been facing massive pressure from civil society and trade unions about when the NHI would be implemented.
Trade union federation Cosatu recently called for the minister to be fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the slow pace of implementing the NHI was one of the issues highlighted by the federation.
The ANC adopted the policy of universal healthcare at its elective conference in Polokwane in 2007 and its part the government’s goals contained in the National Development Plan.
The NHI Bill will now be debated in Parliament. The Medical Schemes Amendment Bill has yet to be gazetted.