The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa (BHF) has welcomed progress made towards universal healthcare for all citizens with the proposed amendments to the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced amendments to the two bills at a media briefing in Pretoria.

“As an industry representative body, we support the intention and action aimed at ensuring that the greater population of the country receives quality healthcare,” said Chairperson of the BHF Southern Africa, Dr Ali Hamdulay.

“We are committed to NHI as a vehicle that will enable the country to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), not just for the 8.9 million lives covered in private healthcare but the 56 million lives of our entire population. We will continue to engage the Minister around a practical and judicious approach to NHI and to seek guidance on where we can contribute towards enabling its success,” continued Dr Hamdulay.

A key provision of the NHI Bill will be the establishment of an NHI fund to pay for health services so that all South Africans have access to quality care.

The bill provides a framework for the active purchasing of healthcare services by the fund on behalf of users and creates mechanisms for the equitable, effective and efficient use of the resources of the fund to meet the health needs of users.

“The private healthcare sector cannot stand by and think that it won’t be affected should the public sector suffer. Public and private healthcare sectors are not mutually exclusive. Some schemes use state institutions for Designated Service Providers (DSPs) and our entire healthcare workforce is trained via academic and public institutions. It’s therefore imperative that the private sector collaborates closely with the Minister and the Department of Health and share their views, insights and knowledge to positively shape the healthcare landscape,” said Dr Hamdulay.

“It’s now time for action and close collaboration and we are going in on this together,” continued Dr Hamdulay.

According to Dr Hamdulay, over the coming weeks, the BHF will closely study the NHI Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and engage with its members to make submissions and contributions towards the proposed amendments.

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