Release of Health Market Inquiry report welcomed – SACP

Party calls for decisive advance to quality healthcare for all under NHI

SACP welcomes release of Health Market Inquiry report, calls for decisive advance to quality healthcare for all under NHI

1 October 2019

The South African Communist Party (SACP) welcomes the release of the Health Market Inquiry report. The SACP reaffirms its support for the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) to provide quality healthcare for all. This national transformation imperative is strengthened by the Competition Commission report, which puts to shame those opposed to the introduction of the NHI.

The SACP notes the statement made by the Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel following the release of the report, to refer it together with its recommendations to the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize for implementation. The SACP will closely follow through the process to ensure that it results in proper regulation in the interest of quality healthcare for all through the NHI. This requires a radical reduction of the cost of healthcare to make it fair and affordable both to the patients and once implemented the NHI to prevent it from looting by private profit interests.  

Former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo led the panel of experts to investigate private health sector especially market conduct and its impact on access to quality healthcare for all. It took five years of extensive investigation leading to the completion and release of the report on Monday, 30 September 2019.

The Competition Commission investigation was occasioned by a public outcry about the ever rising, already exorbitant prices charged by the private health sector, which only a few can afford. The sector is primarily dominated by a monopoly comprising three private hospital oligopolies, namely Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare.

It is evidently clear that at the centre of those opposed to the introduction of the NHI are private profit interests involved in the exploitation of the healthcare needs of the people for self-enrichment. It is an undisputed fact that those who have a medical aid cover are affected as well. Many of them find themselves effectively without the medical aid cover by or just after mid-year annually as a result of a combination of the astronomical prices charged by the private health sector and the way medical aid schemes “benefits” are structured.

It is without a doubt that a lot of money charged by the private monopoly hospitals does not go to healthcare but goes to private profit. Medical aid schemes have been repurposed and subordinated to feed the roots of this private wealth accumulation agenda and its logic. Healthcare practitioners, including specialists in particular, are effectively being economically exploited by the private hospital renteers who amass the lion’s share of the total, unreasonable and skyrocketing payments demanded from patients.

It is also a fact that many patients find themselves indebted, with pressure on their health and overall well-being, as a result of the private monopoly conduct. Those with medical aid cover are additionally forced to make out-of-pocket payments or to join a gap cover in the form of an additional insurance. When the private health sector has milked them dry it then kicks them out to the underfunded public healthcare sector. This cruelty must also be brought an end. It is fact that the proportion of medical aid spending accumulated by the private health sector by far overwhelms the negligible amount received by the public healthcare sector.

The successful introduction of the NHI is one of the key objectives for which the SACP will this week be launching its 2019-2020 Red October Campaign under the theme:

Build Broad Patriotic and Left Popular Fronts:

Mobilise to Fix our Country

Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, National Spokesperson & Head of Communications, SACP, 1 October 2019