The National Health Insurance (NHI) is a financing system that will make sure that all citizens of South Africa (and legal long-term residents) are provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund. Why does South Africa need national health insurance? Healthcare is a human right – this is a widely accepted international principle. This right should not depend on how rich we are or where we happen to live. The right to obtain healthcare is written into our Constitution.
But large numbers of our people continue to die prematurely and to suffer unnecessarily from poor health. Treatable conditions are not being treated on time and preventable diseases are not being prevented.
This is in spite of the fact that government has tried its utmost since 1994 to ensure that everyone in this country has equitable access to necessary healthcare services. There are still serious challenges mainly caused by a skewed healthcare financing system. Without NHI, the burden of disease in the country will not be reduced because the majority of the population – and the section suffering the greatest ill health – will not access good quality healthcare.
What healthcare services will be funded by NHI? The NHI will offer all South Africans and legal residents access to a defined package of comprehensive health services. The state is committed to offering as wide a range of services as possible.