Discovery Health welcomes the publication of the NHI Bill

By Janice Roberts

Discovery Health welcomes the publication of the NHI Bill as this provides more clarity on the implementation of the policy objective of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the establishment of the NHI Fund.

“We support the drive towards ensuring that all South Africans have access to quality health services based on need rather than affordability and we welcome the Minister’s collaborative approach in working towards this objective,”says CEO of Discovery Health, Dr Jonathan Broomberg.

“We believe that the publication of the NHI Bill creates a very important opportunity for active collaboration between the Department of Health and the private healthcare sector, to ensure that the assets, skills and experience available in the private healthcare system are maximally leveraged to ensure the success of the NHI roll out.

Broomberg adds that the Bill is very detailed and Discovery Health is working through it before commenting further on the Bill’s key aspects. “Our high-level view is that the Bill presents a workable framework and that an incremental implementation strategy is appropriate as this will ensure that feasibility and affordability are balanced with making progress towards UHC.”

In his opinion, it is important that the initial focus is on priority projects where there are vulnerable groups in dire need of improved access to care such as the areas of cancer treatment and mental health. “We also support the focus on primary and preventative care as the foundation of UHC.”

In terms of the future role of medical schemes, Discovery Health is studying the details of the Bill as these are not entirely clear, “and we will engage with the Minister of Health and the NDoH in order to understand the implications of the Bill before commenting in detail.”

“We firmly believe that once South Africans have contributed to the NHI, they should have the freedom to purchase cover through medical schemes for any healthcare services, including those provided by the NHI, should they wish to do so.”

He adds that Discovery Health looks forward to working constructively with the Minister and the Department of Health to obtain clarity on various aspects of the NHI Bill and will work hard to contribute towards the successful implementation of the NHI system.




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