'All avenues being considered to fight NHI'

By Janice Roberts

The Solidarity Institute announced today in a statement that it is considering all avenues to fight the ‘damaging effects’ the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) will have.

Morné Malan, Senior Researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) explained: “The NHI in its current format is heading for an unquestionable disaster. All medical practitioners, taxpayers and South African citizens will be affected negatively by this. Therefore, we undertake to use all resources at our disposal to combat the impact of it.”

Solidarity says it will provide input at any public participation process to address the bill’s shortcomings but will also prepare accordingly if the bill is accepted in its current, condemning format.

“We are currently investigating all formal processes through which we could fight the proposed law, and already gave our legal team instruction to test the constitutionality of the current format in court, should it not be amended as desired. The history of the NHI is characterised by an unwillingness from the Department to deviate from their initial plan therefore, we are preparing ourselves to address that proposal, if necessary, in the Constitutional Court. We have been involved with and studying the NHI for two years now. We are trusted with the information and ready to, if necessary, fight.”

In addition to participating in the formal legal processes that accompany the process of the NHI ratification, Solidarity is also investigating alternative systems that can function should the NHI in its current format acquire the power of law.

Hennie Bierman, Head of Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Health Practitioners argues: “As we participate in all the formal processes in an effort to combat the drastic consequences of the bill’s implementation, we also investigate international alternatives to ensure that even under and NHI system our members will still be able to practice in their profession with the freedom, independence and the passion they are entitled to.”

Malan concludes,”We therefore have an all-inclusive procedure in place with various contingency plans. We will try to influence the bill and if it does not succeed, we will fight the implementation of it. If that fails, we will put systems in place that will vaccinate South African citizens against state interference in healthcare. We will fight for South African citizens’ health, whether the state likes it or not.”

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