NEWS & ANALYSIS

The world's deadliest joke

David Bullard on the NHI system the ANC govt has decided to foist on the nation

OUT TO LUNCH

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It’s well known that the secret of good comedy is timing. It might be a well timed riposte or it may, as was often the case in the iconic series “Yes Minister”, just be a facial expression after a feeder line. The late Paul Eddington who played the part of Jim Hacker, the UK prime minister in the series, was a master of the art. Sometimes the laughs come from clever word play or what seems an unnaturally long pause which was a speciality of the late comic genius Peter Cook.

The trick there is to allow the audience to fully absorb the feeder line into their consciousness and then hit them with the really good comeback. A brilliantly funny sketch that Cook wrote early in his career is called “One leg too few” and is about a one legged actor auditioning for the role of Tarzan and is a comedy classic. Google it and watch it on YouTube (preferably the 1964 version).

The ANC also have a wonderful gift for comic timing. You would never guess it to look at their miserable faces sometimes but the introduction of the NHI Bill just as the country is about to be downgraded to junk and go, cap in hand, to someone/anyone who might lend us the money to keep the current charade on the road shows that, deep down, the ANC bigwigs like to have a good laugh at our expense.

The projected cost of the NHI debacle is reckoned to be about R450bln a year according to the IRR but I think we can safely assume that budget overruns will probably mean you can double that figure. You also need to add a substantial amount for introductory fees, consultancy fees and all manner of other kickbacks that the ANC will undoubtedly invent for their close family members along the way. We all know the way South Africa works don’t we?

Personally I think the idea of a National Health scheme for every citizen of the country regardless of race, colour or religion is to be recommended. Who would deny the right of any human being access to medical care in a civilized society? Why should money mean you can buy yourself good health and poverty mean you are denied medical care?

Hang on….I’ve just read that sentence again and realized that I’ve been paying for medical care for as long as I can remember. In the early days it was my employer who paid the major share but since my forced early retirement it is I who pay every month. Out of taxed earnings too.

Why do I do this?

Well, quite simply (and please don’t take offence ANC) I don’t think the state health system can be expected to support all the citizens of South Africa so I decided to pay a substantial sum every month to get access to private medical care when I need it. My scheme doesn’t pay for everything so I still have to pay for certain medical services but at least I can get an appointment with a doctor or a specialist without too much trauma. And I can choose who I consult.

What I have done here is to nobly remove myself from the state system so that those who are really in need won’t have to join a very long queue. I’ve already paid for my state medical care through my taxes and I’m not even asking for a rebate. You should be thanking me, not penalising me.

I’ve read plenty of well informed articles about how this will demotivate doctors and force them to seek opportunities overseas and how the NHI is doomed to failure because anything the ANC attempts to run is bound to be a disaster. Let’s face it, their record so far would make me worry about them running a Spaza shop let alone a nationwide healthcare system. But the reality is that the NHI has absolutely nothing to do with providing health care to every South African citizen.

It’s just the latest scam to enable the kleptocrats to get their thieving hands on other people’s money. The traditional piggy banks are running a bit dry of late and what better than to raid the rich medical aid schemes to keep our beloved leaders in the style to which they’ve become accustomed?

Apart from the opportunity for a bit of thievery the NHI also satisfies the need for ANC retribution against all those suffering from unearned privilege and offensive whiteness. You thought your money would enable you to jump the queue did you? Well think again. This is all part of the Venezuelafication of South Africa you filthy capitalist.

Since fiscal discipline and plain good sense are not much in evidence within the ANC I think we should assume that the ANC will go ahead with their plan to tell us how we should spend our own money and make medical aid schemes illegal in SA. It will almost certainly be a disaster but we’ve all come to associate the ruling party with disaster so this should come as no surprise.

A solution for the medical aids might be to build some well equipped hospitals in Botswana where we could, presumably, legally be treated for our more serious ailments and then convalesce in a game lodge in the Okavango delta. The alternative will be to get up at five in the morning to join the long queue at your local, poorly staffed state hospital. Should you be admitted and lucky enough to get a bed remember to bring your own bedding (all hospital bedding will have been stolen long ago) and enough food to last you for your stay.

So let’s end with a quiz. When NHI has been introduced and medical aid schemes have been outlawed do you think a seriously ill cabinet minister will…

1) Join the queue at his/her local state run hospital

2) Fly business class at taxpayer expense to a private medical facility in Zurich/Singapore/Dubai/London.

I look forward to the comments section.

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