Solidarity highlights insane NHI plans

These can be briefly summarised as follows: unaffordable, impracticable and unnecessary

Solidarity comments on insane NHI plans

14 September 2023

Solidarity highlighted the insanity of the government's planned National Health Insurance (NHI) in its comments to the National Council of Provinces.

The deadline for comments on the NHI is tomorrow (Friday, 15 September), and as with previous opportunities to provide input, Solidarity will make its voice heard tomorrow.

In its comments, the ill-considered NHI plans are briefly summarised as follows: unaffordable, impracticable and unnecessary.

These three arguments indicate why any plans to continue with the NHI are driven only by the ANC government’s ideology and hunger for centralist power. Studies by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) make this abundantly clear.

- The NHI is unaffordable: According to a study by the SRI, the Treasury will need an additional R296 billion to make the NHI a reality. For that, people will have to pay significantly more tax – an estimated 40% increase in personal tax for salary earners. The Treasury is empty. There is no money for the NHI.

- The NHI is impracticable: The NHI will most likely result in many medical practitioners who provide private healthcare services leaving the country. There already is a shortage of specialist healthcare workers, and the indications are that this shortage will dramatically increase. The failure of the public healthcare system on a smaller scale, as we are currently experiencing, points to failure on a much larger scale should the NHI be accepted.

- The NHI is unnecessary: South Africans already have access to free healthcare, and the real need is for this public healthcare system to be maintained and improved. If the necessary resources and energy are devoted to upgrading it instead of setting up a new system, the quality of public healthcare will improve. Along with this, the efficient private healthcare system will remain intact for those who choose to make use of it.

According to Connie Mulder, head of the Solidarity Research Institute, each of the above reasons should weigh heavily enough on their own to abandon the NHI.

“Yet the ANC government is deliberately blind to this because garnering votes is more important to them than the lives of South Africans.

“Contrary to how it is being presented, the NHI will not improve the lives of poor South Africans. Quite the reverse, it will negatively affect the standard of living of everyone in the country, but especially plunge poor South Africans further into misery,” Mulder said.

Solidarity will not allow healthcare to degenerate into another Eskom, SAA or Transnet, and the organisation has already indicated that it will take the government to court if it does not abandon plans to implement the NHI.

Issued by Connie Mulder, Head: Solidarity Research Institute, 14 September 2023