Health Committee folds to DA pressure and undertakes to scrutinise constitutionality of NHI

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
15 Aug 2019 in News

Following pressure from the Democratic Alliance (DA), Parliament’s Health Committee has undertaken to scrutinise the constitutionality and legality of the problematic and disasterous National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

The DA and indeed the public have serious concerns about the constitutionality of this Bill and the ramifications it would pose to our already ailing economy.

The NHI will disempower provinces and centralise healthcare in national government – effectively creating another state-owned entity. The Constitution and the National Healthcare Act have purposefully divided legislative powers between the two spheres of government in order to ensure checks and balances.

The Bill introduced to Parliament last week has five fundamental problems:

  1. It will establish another State Owned Enterprise that will be worth billions of rands placed in the hands of the politically connected. This Bill will give the Minister unvetted powers and control of the entire health system.
  2. The Bill completely centralises the provision of healthcare by placing the management of all central hospitals under the national department, in effect eroding provincial powers.
  3. NHI will fragment the health system. This will inevitably bring normal functioning systems to a grinding halt, and take power and decision making further away from people, not closer to them.
  4. The financing model of this Bill will mean the imposition of a new tax on ordinary South Africans to fund this new SOE.
  5. This Bill removes the autonomy of South Africans to choose their own healthcare.

The truth is that the NHI is doomed to fail because the ANC is attempting to use this Bill to disguise its failure in providing quality public healthcare over the past 25 years.

The DA has also taken note of what seems to be a coordinated attack from the ANC and its allies to spread misinformation about the DA position on universal healthcare. We will not be detracted by their lies.

The DA unequivocally supports universal healthcare. We will however not support a fundamentally problematic piece of legislation which will destroy the health sector and push the economy over the precipice.

The DA has an alternative to the NHI. Our Sizani Health Plan will achieve universal healthcare without collapsing the economy and health services in the country. In fact under Sizani, we would be able to bridge the gap between those who have been excluded by the systematic failures of the ANC government for the past 25 years without destroying private healthcare.

We are ready to debate the merits of the DA’s Sizani Health Plan, and the faults of the NHI. Ultimately, we want universal healthcare that fixes a broken system and puts the people first.