JOHANNESBURG – The money for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill will not be coming from the Health Ministry’s budget but from the national public purse.

This is according to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi who announced amendments to the Medical Schemes Bill and the soon to be implemented NHI Bill.

The amendments to the medical scheme bill are still to be debated and gazetted for public comment.

Motsoaledi says depending on what National Treasury will decide, every South African through tax will contribute to the NHI.

He says this is one of the ways to eliminate inequality in the country.

“NHI is going to be a mandatory for health services, meaning once it’s a law, all South Africans will need to contribute into it if Treasury rules that it is to be funded through contributions from the population.

“We don’t know what they’re going to rule but if it’s mandatory, it means you can’t opt out of it, just like the Constitution.”

WATCH: Motsoaledi breaks down NHI Bill

Meanwhile, Motsoaledi says that while the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the NHI Bill are still to be debated before implementation, government will implement at least four NHI projects soon.

Some of the amendments to the Medical Schemes Bill is to abolish co-payments and brokers, which Motsoaledi says will help make private health more affordable.

Motsoaledi made the announcement that Cabinet has agreed to the amendments in the Medical Schemes Bill to run simultaneously with the implementation of the NHI Bill.

He was speaking in Pretoria on Thursday.

Minister Motsoaledi says his department will use the money allocated to it by the Treasury in the medium-term expenditure framework to implement the NHI.

“While the bill is still being debated, we’re not going to wait. We’re going to implement four NHI projects. Remember that Treasury gave us R4.1 billion to provide services.”

Motsoaledi says equally to the ailing public health system, medical aid schemes and the private health sector also need to be scrutinised.

“But because they’re twin they need to be tackled simultaneously. If we do one after the other, it means we’re planning to take the next half a century before we can talk about the NHI and that’s completely undesirable.”

The minister says NHI will not be implemented in a rushed and irrational manner.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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Nigerians in South Africa
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