da complaint about nhi
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the NHI Bill into law. Photo: Stock/Canva

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Date has been set for Ramaphosa to sign NHI bill into law

The Presidency has disclosed the scheduled date for President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the NHI Bill into law.

14-05-24 13:10
da complaint about nhi
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the NHI Bill into law. Photo: Stock/Canva

President Cyril Ramaphosa is anticipated to officially sign the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday, 15 May.

RAMPHOSA FINDS HIS PEN TO SIGN NHI BILL INTO LAW

On Monday evening, the Presidency released a statement announcing the latest update on progress regarding the bill’s signing.

During his State of the Nation (Sona) address in February, Ramaphosa humorously remarked that he was “searching for a pen” to sign the bill.

“The bill has arrived on my desk. I am going through the bill. I am looking for a pen,” the president said.

With just under three weeks remaining before the 29 May election and the African National Congress (ANC) experiencing a decline in popularity, the president has finally decided to take action by signing the bill into law.

Per the statement, Ramaphosa will officially sign the NHI Bill in a public ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Signing the bill into law will initiate the government’s efforts towards achieving universal health coverage by establishing a cohesive health system. 

This system aims to offer patients free care at the point of service, regardless of whether it is received at a public or private healthcare facility.

According to The Citizen, In his State of the Nation Address, the president disclosed the government’s strategy to gradually implement the NHI, addressing various aspects such as health system financing, the healthcare workforce, medical supplies, vaccines and technologies, and health information systems.

The Health Department clarified that private medical schemes will remain operational within the NHI system, albeit with a modified role.

“When the NHI is fully implemented they will provide cover for services not reimbursable by the NHI Fund,” it said.

Signing the bill into law marks the beginning of a prolonged battle with businesses, healthcare professionals, and opposition parties.

PUBLIC SERVANTS ASSOCIATION PREDICTS NHI’S FAILURE

The Public Servants Association (PSA) expressed concerns about recent media reports regarding the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which left citizens, including public servants, with more questions than answers.

This followed the passage of the NHI Bill by the National Assembly. This granted citizens access to healthcare regardless of their financial circumstances.

The bill aims to uphold the public’s entitlement to healthcare services. 

This entails ensuring all citizens have comprehensive access to healthcare coverage at accredited and certified health facilities, including private practitioners, hospitals, and clinics.

The services will be accessible to individuals of all races, whether employed or unemployed, and legal long-term residents at no cost.

There are also concerns regarding the future of medical aid schemes and their integration into the NHI.

According to IOL, The PSA expressed its backing for ensuring universal access to healthcare.

 However, it emphasised that more than one healthcare system, like the NHI, was needed to provide meaningful healthcare services.

Various organisations have urged Ramaphosa against signing the NHI Bill into law, citing concerns about the state of public health in South Africa.

One significant stakeholder in the distribution of healthcare resources in South Africa is the Health Funders Association (HFA).

This professional body represents medical schemes and nearly half the national medical aid membership.