#Budget2017: Govt ready for next phase of NHI

Eleven pilot sites have been used to assess how to grow the insurance system, now government is revising its NHI White Paper based on public submissions.

FILE: A nurse takes a patient's blood pressure in hospital. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Government says it’s ready to move into the next phase of its National Health Insurance (NHI) with the introduction of a health insurance fund.

But Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is considering reducing tax credits to medical scheme contributions in future to fund the expansion of the NHI.

Eleven pilot sites have been used to assess how to grow the insurance system.

Gordhan says government is revising its NHI White Paper based on the 160 submissions it received from the public.

The next phase of the NHI will be the implementation of a fund to improve access to maternal health and ante-natal services, to provide spectacles and hearing aids through its school programmes and to improve services for people with disabilities, the elderly and mentally ill.

The Finance Minister says more information on how the NHI fund will be set up and funded, will be provided in his Adjustments Budget in October.

The expansion of public health services includes a new Limpopo Central Hospital, R600 million for the commissioning of the new Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and a new medical school at the University of Limpopo.

Government also continues to prioritise HIV treatment with R885 million set aside for the implementation of a universal test and treatment policy.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)