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Mkhize: Private health care will be harder to afford when the NHI is functional

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that government spent half of its healthcare budget on subsidising some small private health care groups, through medical tax rebates.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize added that when government removed the subsidy to fund the NHI, patients would be forced to make use of it. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Monday when the National Health Insurance Fund is fully functional, it would become increasingly difficult for South Africans to afford private health care.

The department revealed only 15% of South Africans are currently on medical aid.

Mkhize said government spent half of its healthcare budget on subsidising some small private health care groups through medical tax rebates.

He added that when government removed the subsidy to fund the NHI, patients would be forced to make use of it.

“Sometimes people think they can afford medical aid, they are not aware that government is putting subsidies in terms of medical tax, rebates on the medical scheme. When government removes that amount and puts it on the NHI, it will become a bit more difficult for people to actually afford medical aid,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize is also confident the NHI will attract skilled managers, desperately needed to steer the fund to succeed, through better pay.

“The cost of the management of the NHI will be about 3% of the total bill of the expenditure of health. Whereas in the public sector, that thing is about 10% to 15%, which is too expensive and that again is unnecessary wastage,” Mkhize added.

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