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NHI Bill heads to Parliament after Cabinet approval

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Bill would give effect to the government’s plan for universal healthcare services for all South Africans, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

FILE: Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu at a post-Cabinet briefing on 11 July 2019. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Cabinet has approved the National Health Insurance Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament shortly.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Bill would give effect to the government’s plan for universal healthcare services for all South Africans, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

The NHI Bill is expected to introduce sweeping reforms aimed at achieving the government’s goal for universal health coverage.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said that the latest draft incorporated inputs received during three months of consultations between June and September last year but he said that it would also be subjected to a "rigorous parliamentary process".

"It will be based on the values of justice, fairness and social solidarity.

"It will address the current health system that serves only 16% of South Africans, whilst excluding the overwhelming majority of South Africans."

The NHI Bill provides for the creation of the NHI Fund, which will report to the Minister of Health.

Mthembu said that once passed, the NHI implementation plan would be amended to allow for the NHI to be rolled out in phases.

He said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize would give more details on the Bill soon.

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