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Monday, July 13, 2020
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    National Health Insurance Bill affecting us all

    What is most disconcerting, is that the details of public hearings – one of which is said to take place on 28 October in Govan Mbeki – have not at all been made known to the public as of yet.

    The Democratic Alliance in the Gert Sibande District is concerned with the manner in which consultations for the National Health Insurance Bill has ensued in the district last week.
    Cllr Ciska Jordaan, the Chairperson of the Trichardt Clinic Committee was invited, at the very last minute, to attend the consultation that was held on 15 October at Graceland. This consultation was apparently intended for health workers and Clinic Committee Chairpersons in the district before the commencement of public participation on the National Health Insurance Bill.
    Upon arrival at the event, besides being baffled that the occasion was not advertised and the media had not been invited in preparation for the upcoming public hearings, there was an air of confusion as to what the purpose of this meeting was as a large number of people were seen wearing their ANC regalia, singing songs and praising their leadership. The MEC for Health SJ Manzini and a number of Executive Mayors, Mayors and MMCs in Mpumalanga included in the above-mentioned sing along.
    One assumed that this was going to be a deliberation on a bill out of which much controversy and fear has risen but it turned out to be an ANC rally aimed at promoting the NHI instead of consulting experts and workers in the health industry on its feasibility.
    While universal healthcare was made to seem like a wonderful idea, the presentation of MEC Manzini cited only a single academic study that was done by the University of Nairobi and she responded suspiciously with what seemed to be opinions to apprehensions that have been raised by ongoing DA petitions which do not support the NHI, instead of citing research studies that have been conducted locally pertaining to the risks or impacts it may have on, for example: The economy: since personal taxes would be raised, medical aid companies would close down and medical practitioners are expected to be driven out of the country in search of greener pastures. The track record with which the governing party has led almost every single corruption riddled state enterprise into debt and despair does not encourage confidence in what appears to be the nationalisation of the health industry in South Africa. This will also cause people to lose their jobs which will in turn impact local and national economies.
    “What is most disconcerting, is that the details of public hearings – one of which is said to take place on 28 October in Govan Mbeki – have not at all been made known to the public as of yet. This, unfortunately, leads one to the assumption that much like the disappointing outcome of IDP consultations in Mpumalanga, public participation in terms of the NHI bill is merely done for compliance sake so that the ANC could return to the NHI committee of enquiry with a favourable outcome, instead of sincerely consulting with the public and acting in accordance,” said DA Cllr Ciska Jordaan.
    “It is against the constitutional rights of every South African to have the opportunity to be consulted on matters such as the NHI Bill, which could lead to hospitals refusing life-saving treatment when budgets are depleted!” Continued Ciska.
    “The Democratic Alliance would like to encourage the public to put effort into determining when the public hearings for the National Health Insurance bill would take place and attend these crucial hearings in communities. Furthermore, we would like to encourage residents to submit their written objections before 29 November. This can be done via the DA’s website www.da.org.za,” concluded DA Cllr Ciska Jordaan.
    – Ané Prinsloo

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    National Health Insurance Bill affecting us all