'The NHI has no clear coherent public purpose,' says pundit

Wits University social security systems administration and management studies chair, Professor Alex van den Heever says the cost behind the National Health Insurance (NHI) is an enormous issue.

RELATED: South Africans justified in feeling 'skeptical' about NHI bill

Van den Heever is responding to NHI bill being referred to Parliament's portfolio committee on health last week.

Bongani Bingwa chats to the professor about his concerns.

The cost can be assessed in a number of ways and the problem with looking at the cost is that government is claiming that it needs to raise enough money from general taxes in order to pay for the medical scheme population in order to be covered through a public scheme.

Professor Alex van den Heever, Chair - Wits University social security systems administration and management studies

This is an unusual proposal and that is why the government doesn't have a real idea on how to put a number to it. The NHI has no clear coherent public purpose because typically you would raise taxes to fund people who are dependent on a public scheme.

Professor Alex van den Heever, Chair - Wits University social security systems administration and management studies

He adds that one of the problems of the NHI is that government will have to raise money from the wealthiest people in South Africa in order to cover those in a public scheme.

Van den Heever says if the purpose of the scheme is to improve the quality of care of people who are covered in the public scheme, then the government needs to improve the quality of care.

They can legitimately redirect funds with the government to improve that coverage. What is unclear is why they are attempting to undermine pre-existing schemes and structures in order to provide this scheme.

Professor Alex van den Heever, Chair - Wits University social security systems administration and management studies

Listen below to the full interview:


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