‘Dept must fix ailing public health system before applying NHI’

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says in implementing NHI, SA has two problems to solve: the exorbitant cost of private healthcare and the poor quality of public healthcare.

FILE: Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi breaks down the NHI Bill. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says before implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI), his department must first fix the country’s ailing public healthcare system.

Motsoaledi says in implementing NHI, South Africa has two problems to solve: the exorbitant cost of private healthcare and the poor quality of public healthcare.

And adds that these issues need to be tackled simultaneously.

“The problem is people believe NHI is some form of luxury which you implement when things are going well. Actually, you implement it because things are not going well and you want them to be well, that’s what we’re doing. So, the National Development Plan has given a guidance on this issue but there are two problems South Africa must solve, one being the exorbitant cost of private healthcare.”

WATCH: Motsoaledi breaks down NHI Bill

The NHI is a health financing system that pools funds to provide access to quality health services for all South Africans based on their health needs and irrespective of their socio-economic status.

Motsoaledi says it will need a massive reorganisation of the current health system, both public and private.

“People who are on medical aid are using two systems in this country; their first option is to go to private healthcare using their medical aid. When they run out of money, they’ll fall back to the public healthcare, with no money at all. So, the aim is that South Africans must use all health facilities in their country whether their public or private.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)