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ANC should not use COVID-19 as front to enforce NHI

AfriForum condemns President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that the COVID-19 pandemic is a building block for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI). The civil rights organisation will continue to fight the implementation of this destructive policy.

Since government announced its NHI plan, AfriForum has been driving a campaign to oppose the plan and inform people of the dangers that it poses. The funding of the NHI will entail an exorbitant cost and is simply unaffordable – especially after the economic damages brought about by the lockdown.

According to Natasha Venter, Spokesperson for AfriForum’s campaign against the NHI, the high level of job losses and increased poverty – which will inevitably follow the lockdown – will cause the tax base responsible for funding this scheme to shrink even more.

“It is also the same government – one that expects people to trust it with supplying electricity, combatting corruption and managing state institutions responsibly – that now expects us to trust it with our health.”

AfriForum is concerned that government will exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to promote their agenda of a universal health system in an attempt to completely transform the economy (in the ANC’s words). “Government’s promises to the public are false that the NHI is the panacea to all health problems in the country – now more than ever before. The implementation of the NHI will eventually cause the level of healthcare to deteriorate for everyone. The single most important factor that determines access to healthcare is a country’s per capita income. The shrinking tax base simply cannot afford another failed state-controlled entity – which is what NHI will become,” Venter says.

AfriForum understands the private healthcare industry’s unwillingness (according to media reports) to accept a set direction for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

“We share the private sector’s concerns that such an agreement will become permanent after the pandemic in an effort to enforce the NHI. We saw that government could not even pay out promised social grants to indigents timeously. This points to the fact that the private sector has no guarantee of being reimbursed for their work timeously or even at all,” Venter concludes.

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