Cape Town - Although there was limited detail in the additional funding that the National Health Insurance (NHI) would need, the benefits of access to quality healthcare for all would have a significantly positive impact on the economy, says Discovery Health.
One of the country's biggest medical aid administrators reacted to Friday's release of the green paper on the NHI, which Health Minister Aaron Mosoaledi said would take 14 years to implement.
The green paper indicated that spending on the NHI, which would be in addition to the normal national health budget, would start at R125bn next year and would progressively increase to R225bn, at 2010 prices, in 2025.
Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg said his company strongly supported the NHI framework in the policy paper and was committed to helping government to achieve the objective of quality health care for all.
Broomberg said he welcomed the proposed introduction of a "purchaser-provider" split within the public healthcare system and the proposed introduction of alternative reimbursement mechanisms designed to promote efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
"The provision for utilising the assets and skills within the private healthcare system to achieve the objectives of the NHI, and to improve healthcare quality and outcomes for all South Africans through this freedom of choice for consumers to belong to a medical scheme, should they wish to do so," he said.
Broomberg said the green paper provided an opportunity for all stakeholders in the healthcare system to work together to improve the national healthcare system and to make a real impact on health outcomes for the people of SA.
He said that Discovery Health were supportive of key elements of the green paper that included: significant increases in per capita expenditure on health services; a strong focus on primary healthcare, together with detailed proposals on a number of reforms aimed at improving the quality, effectiveness and accessibility of primary healthcare services; the need to address critical shortages of skilled human resources.
Broomberg said a detailed implementation plan, including a phased roll-out timetable and an extensive use of pilot programmes in order to refine the proposals and implementation strategies, was needed over time.