Govt: Private health killing itself

2011-02-21 22:01

Pretoria - Government aims to pass the bill implementing South Africa's proposed national health insurance (NHI) system during 2012, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said in Pretoria on Monday.

Speaking at a public lecture at the Tshwane University of Technology, Motsoaledi said he expected a policy document to be presented to Cabinet in the near future after which a white paper would me made available for public comment.

Critics who claimed that the NHI could not be financed were basing their criticisms on prices that were being charged in the private health sector.

Motsoaledi said the private health system was pricing itself out of existence and that it was unsustainable as long as the focus was curative rather than preventative.

"We (the ANC led-government) are not going to kill the private health care system. It is going to kill itself," he said.

Iin South Africa ten percent of the population received 40% of the total health spend, while the poorest 25% of the population received only ten percent of the country's health spend.

"At the time you get sick, there must not be any one demanding money from you."

Medical aids were being short sighted when they refused to provide a young woman with contraception but were then later forced to pay for health care when the woman needed to be treated for a back street abortion gone wrong, Motsoaledi said.

  • GM - 2011-02-21 22:32

    I told my son the same thing last week when he was enquiring about a dental procedure he had to have and discovered that prices ranged from R 18 000 to R 54 000 and med aid only covered R 6 000. I said what will eventually happen is you and I will refuse to see these overpriced dentists and they will have to change their pricing (structures , practices etc) to compete again.

  • William - 2011-02-21 22:35

    I tend to agree. Private health care has become a lucrative business with the focus on maximum dividends rather than affordable health care. This is reckless business especially since the public health services is a disaster. It has become a Corporate syndication. The private health care sector could still be highly profitable at much lower rates and charges, but it seems that greed bug has bitten.

  • Lance Robert - 2011-02-21 23:22

    The argument Mr Motsoaledi gives against private healthcare applies to government.. Providing free health services is a curative measure from government that drains the economy of funds while providing education is preventative and a long term solution that grows the economy.

  • scud - 2011-02-22 05:41

    The minister has a point,but criticism of private health care by representatives of a government that is unable to run a single hospital or clinic even half efficiently,tells us exactly who is in charge of the asylum.

  • Lekwetse - 2011-02-22 06:47

    No the government is killing the tax paying citizens. We are going to pay for this National Health system, we are going to pay for the toll roads, they want us to contribute to a government pension fund. The few working people are taxed to death..sorry I prefer the private health

  • Concerned - 2011-02-22 06:58

    Having been a director of a medical scheme it is shocking to see how much corruption there is. So much of a members money goes to 3rd parties to make them rich and the administrator rich, cut out brokers, all these so called health assessment schemes, management programs etc which really do nothing and medical contributions will driop by as much as 30-40%

  • Werner - 2011-02-22 07:13

    Why are you so hell bent and wanting to destroy? Let the people be in this country and do your jobs!

  • ATAC - 2011-02-22 07:33

    AND WHO PAYS FOR THIS CUMDROP ???????? OH YEEE THE TAXPAYER AGAIN......... I might as well just let my salary be paid into a goverment account....

  • Say What - 2011-02-22 07:53

    yes yes, that statement is based on aahh uuhhh, which actual occurrence again?

  • Oh Cleva - 2011-02-22 08:59

    Who would pay for expensive private healthcare if public healthcare was up to scratch? No one! The reason private healthcare can charge so much is that the govt is just THAT useless and ending up in a public hospital is almost certain death by itself! If they don't fix the public health before NHI is adopted we are doomed :(

  • warieth - 2011-02-22 09:28

    I fully agree. health care for all !

  • Ray Croft - 2011-02-22 09:53

    Why endlessly repeat the fallacy.If individuals chose to spend their own money on health care it cannot be equated with tax-funded expenditures.For the elderly most expenditure will be pallitative not preventative and this is not for the State to determine the priorities.If Govt. seeks to force down prices/tariffs these resources will flee overseas although no one can dispute these chages are too high in the context of our incomes.Until living standards are on a par with more developed countries the sensible policy is to leave well alone.The alternative is chaos and denial of freedom of choice.

  • LEIGH - 2011-02-22 10:10

    When the members of teh Government all use public health facilities themselves then I will believe them .. Up until then, best they put their money where there mouths are or shut up and leave the current system alone ( as it still works - maybe not perfectly, but at least it is still working )

  • Derrick - 2011-02-22 10:35

    I agree private health care these days is becoming a rip off. However, we already paying tax for health care, which goes to most, another tax for NHI I find we be no benefit to me or anyone else. The money will get stolen, over priced bills will be paid, I see no changes to my current situation besides me having less money in my pocket.

  • Theo - 2011-02-22 10:38

    If the State can deliver the services so well (the private sector will obvioulsy not be used by implication) why does the comrades like Aaron and even comrade Nelson not make use of those facilities? Why always book in with the private clinics and hospitals? Another double-speak, eh Comrade?

  • Ken - 2011-02-22 11:00

    Another brain-dead government minister! Perhaps he should go to a public facility and see if they can perform an MRI scan! Oh wait - the machine is broken, stolen or nobody qualified to use it! If govt is so jacked, why is Pick 'n Pay in the Eastern Cape trying to sell tickets to the public to buy incubators for govt hospitals in PE?

  • Fred - 2011-02-22 11:04

    Kind of has a point, costs of a CPAP, sleep apnea apparatus from the US, $500 in SA R10.000, plastic tubing for instrument in the US, $2.99 in SA, R120, just a coincidence that I was looking these things up this morning, private medicine and medical aids are ripping us off in SA, if the new NHI works I'd definitely be giving up my private medical aid, it is a very big if though.

  • JC De Bruyn - 2011-02-22 11:07

    being the victim of an operation for kidney stones ,during which the various players pocketed in excess of R50 ooo I would welcome a system that focussses on prevention as well as cure, my doctors shows no interest in finding the cause or prescribing preventitive measures for my alledged kidney stones.

  • David - 2011-02-22 11:35

    I agree with the minister. The Medical aid schemes are demanding more and more for less and less benefits and most private doctors and hospitals are only interested in making money off peoples misery. Private healthcare is only marginally more efficient than government healthcare. The focus is on profit not peoples wellbeing.

  • Malvern - 2011-02-22 12:22

    I know private healthcare is too expensive, but without it we can write ourselves of as public hospitals are a death trap. While you go to the toilet your sheets might be stolen. I do not see our ministers going to a public hospital and if they do they get a private treatment. What a laugh

  • @JC de Bruyn - 2011-02-22 12:42

    Unfortunately South Africans dont understand PREVENTION! We drink, smoke, unfit and are obese. People dont use condoms, they drive drunk, fight and rape! Fix these problems first and the healthcare system will be less strained.

  • Francois Smith - 2011-02-22 14:00

    Thank you Minister: Firstly I think you must also add to your statement that Government already killed public health care - thus your promises do not bode well for private health care. Then I think from now on all Cosatu members, SACP members and ANC members, specifically the ALL the former Presidents must go to Public Haetlh Care - fill in the forms and wait in the queue. Please allow yourself and Tony Ehrenrich to go to Chris Hani Bara and Helen Joseph, especially during the wage negotiations strike. LEAD by example, PLEASE.

  • Healthy for now - 2011-02-22 14:56

    The challenge to the minister: Kill private health care by excellence in your department. My Mother in law received a prosthetic knee a few years ago, but the care was so bad that she had a bedsore the size of a plate. The nurses refused to write anything about it on the paperwork because it would cause trouble for them. Be prepared to be charged for murder regularly unless the standards of healthcare improve radically! If the rich are forced to substandard health care facilities, they will have the money to access the courts.

  • JJR - 2011-02-22 16:04

    Mmmm...Nurses and hospital staff striking...people and babies dying in hospitals...Underfunding and staffing at most hospitals...not sure if I am happy with his suggestions.

  • Solo - 2011-02-22 16:11

    If private healthcare is killing itself why are companies like Netcare and Discovery Health still growing?

  • OTMAP - 2011-02-22 21:58

    Just because the public healthcare system is not curative doesn't mean that its preventative.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-02-23 05:07

    Let me tell you / let me teach you how the capitalist system works: everybody works and everybody pays. However ( 32% + of SA's people is unemployed and living off the ANC's social grants ) So you are making a mess of the economy - guess what: Europe, the US, the UK haven't made a mess of their economies - they are still earning $40,000 or R280,000 per person, unemployment is still below 10% AND population growth AND AIDS is still under control. So the problem is YOU the ANC. You haven't achieved 6% GDP growth per year. And I wonder why? You promised you see you can't deliver.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-02-23 05:40

    Fred the import duties on goods from the US is 25% + VAT. That means your beloved ANC government is to blame for +- 40% of the price increase. Also factor in that it has to be transported by cargo ship - 6000+ km from New York to SA. About everything costs twice as much as in the US. Just visit From cellphones to printers to cars.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-02-23 05:59

    And if you tax people more to give to the poor free health care, then logically the tax payer will have less money to spend on private health care. But you are not only killing private health care, you are killing many other businesses where that tax money could have been spent - tax money that will now be spent to pay for people that pay no tax. To give them something they haven't work for or earned, for free.

  • Amajuba - 2011-02-23 07:11

    The Romans had a saying, " Q E D ", Its latin! That which is proved. Yes Private health is very expensive, but no other Choice.

  • Ahmed - 2011-02-23 10:41

    The NHI is a fantastic solution to provide affordable health benefits to the poor and needy. But the implementation of this project must be managed carefully. Government is noted for corruption of tenders and allocating work to companies that have more political connections that experience. This would be a costly and futile project if there is major politcal influence. South Africa does need the NHI.

  • DB - 2011-02-24 13:34

    I had all my ops (cleft palate) done at the then JG Strydom Hospital, 18 years later I could not believe it was the same hospital (and thats just from the outside), when i called my mum about this - her response was: " The new government forced even us coloureds into joining medical schemes" Public healthcare just as with other services detoriated when the ANC took over, I dont know much about apartheid, but i can see why the whites tried to keep blacks away from certain places - they break everything down, even coloureds have this tendency. Government has become a get rich quick scheme, its not about service delivery or changing the impact the past has had on people's lives - its all about making money to drive flashy cars and throw parties worth over R100 mil - why was this not invested in building proper schools in the township - priviledged township kids have to travel to the surbubs to attend decent schools (these kids have to be up at the crack of dawn!!!). Please stop stealing our tax money and use it to improve government institutions, but if you did this you would be killing your lifestyle??

  • UncleSpud - 2011-03-01 09:50

    Why Comment???? Never makes any difference what the public thinks. Nothing changes does it???

  • eh - 2011-03-01 10:40

    Aaron seems to forget that private medical users 1. Pay dearly for the priviledge 2. Do so on top of the taxes we pay which fund the current health department 3. Do so because the government is incapable of providing decent, affordable health care to its citizens Why should we believe that the NHI is suddenly going to change all of this when the people running the NHI are going to be the same incompetent pals? So really all that is going to happen is that citizens are going to be burdened with additional taxes to fund something that they will not want to benefit from

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