No further talk of NHI until bill is passed – Solidarity

Movement says this is a victory to all who have all been confronted by major uncertainty

No further talk of NHI until bill is passed

8 November 2021

Solidarity announced today that in a letter directed to it, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Health, Dr Nicolas Crisp, confirmed that the department would make no further announcement in connection with National Health Insurance (NHI) until the bill has been passed by Parliament.

In a letter sent to Solidarity on 24 October 2021 Dr Crisp points out that in the Department’s view the NHI is currently before Parliament and until the Parliamentary processes have been exhausted and the bill is endorsed by the National Assembly the Department could not make announcements relating to the rollout or implementation of the NHI.

According to Solidarity, this is a victory for its members in the health sector, as well as for its other members in general who have all been confronted by major uncertainty in the light of the implementation of the Act.

“We have numerous members in the health sector who are constantly grappling with statements made by the department creating the impression that the department is acting as if the NHI was already law. For our members this letter brings more certainty about their future, especially in the light of research that has already shown how negative health workers are about the bill,” Anton van der Bijl, Solidarity’s head of legal matters explains. “It is also a relief for our other members who pay taxes or belong to a medical fund as they do not have to worry about drastic changes that are imminent.”

Dr Crisp’s letter follows after Solidarity sent a letter to the Department earlier this year about statements made while the bill actually still has to be debated in Parliament and is still subject to public participation. Solidarity wrote to Dr Crisp in September after he had stated at a conference held on 30 August that the NHI would come into effect by the end of the year.

“We are delighted with the concession, but in fact, it should never have happened that officials talk about proposed Acts as if they were already a reality. We are keeping a hawk’s eye on the government to make sure that this does not happen again in future,” Van der Bijl says.

“Furthermore, we will endeavour to fight the NHI becoming law as it could have huge negative financial consequences for the economy as well as having drastic consequences for health care in the country. However, this concession by the Department remains a major victory in the ongoing battle and sends a message that the NHI can still be stopped,” Van der Bijl concluded.

Issued by Connie Mulder, Head: Solidarity Research Institute, 8 November 2021