NHI public participation process extended – Siviwe Gwarube

DA MP says Parliament cannot be used as a rubber stamp station for problematic pieces of legislation

Parliament buckles under DA pressure; agrees to extend NHI public participation process 

1 October 2019

Following the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) and other interested parties’ petition to the Portfolio Committee for Health to extend the public participation process for the National Health Insurance Bill, the deadline has been extended to 29 November 2019.

The DA welcomes this victory in the road to fighting the disastrous NHI Bill. 

Parliament cannot be used as a rubber stamp station for problematic pieces of legislation. The process needs to be rigorous and needs to place the views of all South Africans at the forefront of decision-making. 

More importantly, it’s crucial that South Africans are making inputs on legislation that they are clear on. To date, there are still unanswered questions on the Bill and its implications. 

These pertinent questions include:

What will be covered or not covered by private medical schemes;

What will the package of care that will be provided by the state include? How will the federal system work to ensure all South Africans have quality access to care?

What is the funding model that will be used? Will South Africans be expected to pay additional personal tax? What would the value of that be?

What are the other funding sources for this legislation? Has National Treasury costed it and certified that the country can roll this out?

How will the department ensure quality of care across both public and private health facilities? 

The DA encourages all South Africans to make use of this opportunity to lodge views on the Bill. We will ensure that every submission is taken into account and that this process is not simply rushed through. That is why we have established an additional portal to collect petitions on the NHI Bill. Thousands of people have already made their objection to aspects of this Bill clear on the DA’s petition.

Universal Healthcare (UHC) is an imperative, especially in an unequal society like South Africa. However, in achieving this ideal, we cannot destroy the economy, risk brain drain and sentence South Africans further to a life of oppressive taxes. 

That is why the DA supports the ideals of UHC. However these must be based on quality care across the board and should not only benefit those who are politically connected.

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube, DA Shadow Minister of Health, 1 October 2019