An additional R4.2 billion has been allocated towards the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme, said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba in his National Budget speech.

In his address to Parliament, Minister Gigaba said the government has continued progressively on the path towards NHI which would be funded through an amendment to the medical expenses tax subsidy.

“Over the medium term, NHI is allocated an additional R4.2 billion, funded through an amendment to the medical expenses tax subsidy. Overall, government will be spending R205 billion on health in 2018/19 growing to R240 billion by 2020/21,”said Minister Gigaba.

The implementation of NHI is a policy priority that will result in additional allocations of R700 million, R1.4 billion and R2.1 billion over the next three years.

The personal services component of the NHI grant includes an initial set of priority services, such as contracting with general practitioners, widening referrals for school optometry and audiology services, and community mental health.

The non-personal services component of NHI is allocated R2.3 billion over the medium term. The 2018 Budget Review said this amount will expand the Chronic Disease Medicine Distribution Programme to enable three million patients to collect chronic medicines at their collection point of choice instead of at a clinic.

Meanwhile, government is working to increase the life expectancy of citizens to at least 70 years by 2030 through interventions such as the continued expansion of antiretroviral therapy and implementation of NHI.

The health budget, which accounts for 13.9% of total spending, will grow at an average annual rate of 7.8 % over the medium term.

The 2018 Budget has allocated a total R205.4 billion to the health sector. Of this amount, R125.9 billion will be for tertiary hospital services and R66.4 billion will support HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.

 

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