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NHI to cost R125bn by next year

Aug 11 2011 11:08 Reuters

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Pretoria - South Africa’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) programme, aimed at giving greater access to healthcare for the country’s poor, will require R125bn in 2012 and R214bn by 2020, according to a government policy paper released on Thursday.

The NHI, currently being discussed by the government and other parties in South Africa’s healthcare system, will require R255bn by 2025, the paper said.

“The goal is to try and finance healthcare for everybody,” Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told reporters at a briefing.

The government is auditing the country's health facilities in preparation for the piloting of the NHI Motsoaledi said.

The pilot would take place in 10 selected districts.

It would help the department finalise the design of service benefits, how the population would be covered and how the service would be delivered.

The NHI aims to give all people access to a certain standard of health care, regardless of their income.

People would not have to make contributions to the NHI yet, said Motsoaledi.

He said a conditional grant would be made in the 2012 budget to fund the pilot project.

He said the selection of districts for the first five years of the pilot would be based on the results of the audits.

The factors which would be taken into account included a district's health profile, demographics, income levels and other social factors impacting on health.

Motsoaledi said that, in the next five years, the government intended strengthening the management of health facilities and health districts, improving quality, developing infrastructure and establishing the NHI fund.

He said it was soon to say whether the government would do away with government medical aids in the next 14 years.

He re-affirmed the government's commitment to appoint the right people in the right positions to ensure there was no abuse of the system.

"We will start with management," he said, adding that a plan would be detailed in a Green Paper to be made public on Friday. 

aaron motsoaledi  |  nhi  |  sa economy
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