eHealthNews set out to make contact with all the South African political parties to procure their views and policies on implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa – this is the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) reply from Jacques Weber, Chair of the DA Hope Constituency, Vice Chair of the DA Atlantic Sea Board and selected candidate for PR Councillor:

“The national Minister of Health has proposed an NHI scheme that will pool public and private finance, become the single channel for health funding in South Africa and supposedly eliminate what the minister calls ‘the current tiered system’ in healthcare.

The DA believes the Green Paper both misdiagnoses the problem and fails to provide a realistic alternative.

  • The proposed NHI does not address the real problem which is low-quality provision in the public sector.
  • The proposed NHI does not adequately attend to accountability and management structures.
  • Centralisation of health care funding will be bureaucratic and inefficient.
  • South Africa lacks the human resources to implement NHI.
  • The proposed NHI eliminates freedom of choice for healthcare consumers.
  • The true cost of NHI is unclear with the numbers appearing in the Green Paper being, at best, vague estimates.
  • The proposed NHI creates a massive risk of unintended consequences because it proposes comprehensive and not incremental change.
  • The proposed NHI believes money – not accountability, governance and functionality – is the answer to all of South Africa’s healthcare problems.
  • The proposed NHI may be unconstitutional as it threatens provincial authority.

**NB – please note that we are awaiting the release of the White Paper.”

The above statement demonstrates that the DA is against the ANC’s methods outlined in the Green Paper.  However, the DA’s Health Policy and Manifesto that Mr. Weber also provided states the party stands for universal access to health care for all citizens. The DA believes the key to implementing NHI over the next five years is not big policy developments but making the current regional management model work. The party envisages a strong doctor-driven Primary Health Care (PHC) system where the strengths of the private sector are leveraged to improve public health through partnerships.

The DA’s health policy also mentions how the party believes in modernising the health system and using information technology to bring about systemic improvements – including improvements to the system of procuring and distributing medicines.

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