Ramaphosa finds a pen – NHI to become law this week

 ·13 May 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law later this week.

The president will publically sign the NHI Bill into law at the Union Buildings at 14:00 on Wednesday, 15 May, the Presidency announced in a statement late on Monday.

The legislation aims to introduce universal coverage to healthcare services in South Africa and, through this, overcome the healthcare inequality that plagues the country.

Private-sector healthcare will only be allowed to finance certain treatments, such as voluntary procedures.

The National Council of Provinces approved the Bill in December last year and referred it to the president for assent. During the State of the Nation Address in February, the President joked that he was looking for a pen to sign the Bill.

Although there is widespread support for reforming the private healthcare system industry, which only serves 16% of the population while the rest relies on overburdened public facilities, critics have argued that the government has not considered its cost and constitutionality.

The Bill has already been criticized by medical professionals, medical aid schemes, business professionals, and even parliament’s own legal team.

Many have cited the Bill as an electioneering tactic from South Africa’s ruling party, with South Africans going to the poll in two weeks.

Several critics argue that, due to intense litigation, it is unlikely to see the light of day in its existing form.

With reporting from Bloomberg

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