Last chance to protest against NHI Bill

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
20 Sep 2023 in Press Statements

Gauteng residents have a last chance to protest the NHI Bill at the final public hearing of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee which is scheduled for tomorrow.

The implementation of the proposed NHI will be disastrous for Gauteng as it will harm the economy and won’t fix public hospitals which are notoriously badly run.

Many medical professionals will emigrate rather than work for a single government-run system that is likely to be corrupt and inefficient.

The biggest question is how it will be funded. While there is no cost assessment, it is estimated it would cost about R300 billion.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has admitted it lacks a sustainable funding source and he would rather see money spent on improving public hospitals to make them attractive to everyone.

It is sheer madness to proceed with NHI when Government is faced with austerity measures as tax revenues have fallen drastically in a low-growth economy.

The DA believes in universal access to healthcare, but this bill fails to address manifold issues including the following:

• staff shortages;

• crumbling facilities due to poor maintenance;

• medication stock-outs;

• low level of computerisation;

• shortages of equipment;

• high medico-legal claims

• massive corruption and maladministration;

• poor patient record-keeping.

Key provisions of the Bill are likely to be unconstitutional, including the Certificate of Need which will determine where medical practitioners are allowed to work, and the centralisation of power that takes away the provincial role in providing health care.

Private medical aids will ultimately be outlawed under this scheme, and skilled professionals who power our economy are likely to move en masse if they are forced to use poorly run government health facilities.

This Bill threatens to make a giant Eskom out of our health system, magnifying the opportunities to loot while failing to deliver a basic service.

Fear about the NHI is already damaging our economy, but the ANC is brushing aside all opposition as they think their false promises will help them in next year’s election.

The DA will press the Gauteng provincial government to reject the Bill in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

We urge the public to attend this last hearing in Gauteng to make their views known.

The meeting will be on Thursday 21 September at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre, starting at 9am.