There is a constitutional obligation to provide access to health care for all. Currently in South Africa while there is a public health service, many people opt for privatised healthcare believing that they will get a better quality of care. This can be a very expensive thing. So we have developed a system of medical aids in South Africa to provide health insurance for private health care. There is now talk of a National Health Insurance (NHI) being set up. What will this change for your medical aid?
- Medical aids may offer less
- There will be more tax
- There will be cross over health care
The system that the government appears to be modelling on is the United Kingdom's NHS or National Health Service, which is currently under pressure. The fact is that the UK government charges a small part of tax called National Insurance or NI that provides comprehensive free health care. This kind of health care is what is called for by our constitution and is a method of keeping our population healthy and productive, however with the existence already of medical aid a new tax could lead to people paying twice for their health care.
While many will be unhappy about another tax, if we wish to be able to supply the labour market with healthy and able workers then we will need to provide more access to health care which at the moment is only really available at decent service levels to those who are able to afford medical aid. With an introduction of NHI there may be less call for private medical aids, with these providing only top-up services that are not covered by the national fund. If this national fund is managed correctly we could pay much less for our health insurance and get the same level of care as currently.