The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has welcomed the progress made by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to accelerate the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.
The BHF represents 45 medical aid schemes, administrators and managed care organisations in South Africa and an additional 23 medical aid schemes across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.
The Chairperson of the BHF Southern Africa, Dr Ali Hamdulay, said as an industry representative body, they support the intention and action aimed at ensuring that the greater population of the country receives quality healthcare.
“We are committed to the NHI as a vehicle that will enable the country to achieve universal health coverage, not just for the 8.9 million lives covered in private healthcare but the 56 million lives of our entire population,” Dr Hamdulay said.
Dr Hamdulay said the board will continue to engage the Minister around a practical and judicious approach to NHI, and to seek guidance on where they can contribute towards enabling its success.
He also warned that the private healthcare sector cannot stand by and think that it won’t be affected, should the public sector suffer.
“Public and private healthcare sectors are not mutually exclusive. Some schemes use State institutions for Designated Service Providers (DSPs) and our entire healthcare workforce is trained via academic and public institutions.
“It’s therefore imperative that the private sector collaborates closely with the Minister and the Department of Health and share their views, insights and knowledge to positively shape the healthcare landscape. It’s now time for action and close collaboration and we are going in on this together,” he said.
Over the coming weeks, the BHF will closely study the NHI Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, and engage with its members to make submissions and contributions towards the proposed amendments, according to Hamdulay.
Health Minister Motsoaledi on Thursday, announced amendments to the NHI Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill in Pretoria.
The bills will pave the way for more access to medical healthcare through NHI, and represent a massive shake-up to both the governmental and the private healthcare systems.
The bills have been published on the Government Gazette for public comment. Interested parties have three months to comment on the bills.