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Opposition parties question Minister Mkhize on sustainability of NHI

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s budget vote came a day after Cabinet announced that it had approved the National Health Insurance Bill.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties have questioned the financial sustainability of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

On Friday, Members of Parliament (MPs) debated the nation's health budget tabled by Minister Zweli Mkhize.

As expected, the budget speech centred around universal healthcare and improved health conditions for South Africans.

Mkhize’s budget vote came a day after Cabinet announced that it had approved the National Health Insurance Bill, which would give effect to universal healthcare.

Mkhize said under the NHI, the decision on which treatment a patient gets would be based on how sick they were rather than how much money they had.

But the Democratic Alliance’s Siviwe Gwarube questioned the wisdom of introducing NHI under the current conditions in the country.

“The legislation will see the nationalisation of healthcare, the creation of a state-owned enterprise, which will be the perfect breeding ground for mass corruption and slow delivery of care.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Dr Sophie Thembekwayo said it would be a pointless exercise if there’s no proper infrastructure.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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