Public-private partnerships in NHI a betrayal of the poor – COSATU

Federation says DOH's ongoing attempt to water down and destroy scheme concerning

The introduction of public-private partnerships in the NHI is a betrayal of the poor by the Department of Health

16 May 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with deep concern the Department of Health’s ongoing attempt to water down and destroy the National Health Insurance NHI by proposing the introduction of a multi-payer system. This follows reports that the Department of Health’s director-general Precious Matsoso has been meeting the  leaders of the medical aid schemes to rope them in to be part of the NHI.COSATU is adamant that in introducing the NHI , there should be no public-private partnerships(PPP’s) , including the outsourcing of public operations in health facilities. 

We will fight any attempt to introduce any multi-payer system, where instead of a single fund (NHI Fund) that is intended to ensure that the rich subsidies the poor, there would be a number of separate funds  or medical schemes organised according to incomes of people and others operated by the private sector.

This will undermine the cross subsidisation of the poor by the rich. The federation is committed to ensuring that all workers, who are at the moment working for private medical schemes are going to be transferred to the public service under a single fund.

The department is converting the NHI into the South African version of Obamacare , where the priority is to meet the needs of private health profiteers instead of those of poor people.  The overall goal of the NHI is the realisation of the right to decent healthcare for all s stated in section 27 of the Constitution that: “Everyone has a right to have access to healthcare services”.

At the moment there are shocking inequalities and problems in our healthcare system. While our country spends a lot of money in healthcare, compared to many other countries, only a few (about 8 million) have access to good quality healthcare. COSATU will fight to ensure that the redistribution of resources through the NHI favours the working class.

The department of Health is betraying the poor by handing over the NHI to private hands and is also betraying the voters, who were promised a single payer NHI in the 2014 National Elections ANC manifesto.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 16 May 2017