Aaron Motsoaledi defends implementation of NHI

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the implementation of the NHI Bill is extremely important to ensure quality healthcare for all.

FILE: Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says he is aware of comments that the government must fix the ailing public healthcare system first before the National Health Insurance (NHI) is even mentioned, adding that the ill-efficient system is the reason why NHI should be implemented.

Motsoaledi says the implementation of the NHI Bill is extremely important to ensure quality healthcare for all, irrespective of socio-economic status.

The minister was announcing amendments to two bills including the NHI Bill in Pretoria on Thursday.

He says the poor quality and lack of efficiency in the public healthcare system is not a matter of debate, because the government is aware of this problem.

Motsoaledi says the fact that private healthcare is too expensive, coupled with the fact that public health is ailing is the reason why NHI is important.

“Clearly the National Development Plan regards these two as the terrible twins of the healthcare system, even though people commonly like to talk about one twin.”

The minister says NHI will not be implemented in an irresponsible and rushed manner.

“So, what we’re going to do with NHI is look at all the steps… is it possible for us to afford this at this juncture?.”

The amendments to both the Medical Aid Scheme Bill and the NHI Bill have been supported by Cabinet but will still be debated, and the public will still need to make comments before they are implemented.

WATCH: Motsoaledi breaks down NHI Bill

Motsoaledi says he is aware that whatever the government tries to do, South Africans will label it corrupt but he’s promised this is not going to be the case with the NHI.

He says NHI is necessary because medical aids are extremely expensive.

“Seeing that in this country over the past decade our second name is now corruption, unfortunately. But I don’t think people should think that in planning NHI, we’re planning corruption. We know it’s very difficult, but it’s not impossible.”

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Stats SA revealed that only 17% of South Africans have medical aid.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)