I am a health professional currently completing my Community Service year at a rural hospital in the North West Province. I have had first hand experience working in government-run hospitals over the course of my studies as well as this year of Community Service.
I can say without a doubt that the need for universal health coverage is vital for South Africans, especially those who are living in rural areas. That being said, your plan for implementation of the NHI is short-sighted and lacks due consideration of the current Public Healthcare System. Our government healthcare facilities are in a shocking state. If they had to be audited, many deserve to be shut down due to corruption, misappropriation of funds, lack of appropriate hygiene, medical negligence and an overall disgusting representation of how you, as politicians, believe your citizens should be treated in facilities. Would a single one of you dare receive medical care at a government facility, let alone a rural facility? I feel that it is safe to say that you are all on costly medical aid schemes to ensure that you never have to be subject to the atrocities that occur in government hospitals.
In order for universal health coverage to be successful, you need to have a functional public healthcare system to start with. As I have mentioned, the current state of our public health care facilities is an embarrassment. We unfortunately do not have the economic structure to sustain the NHI; a small percentage of our citizens actually pay tax and despite being one of the most heavily taxed nations in the world, many of us are unable to benefit from our contributions (such as public healthcare) due to the mismanagement of public health care.
It is a well-known fact that South African Government has the funds to ensure that quality healthcare can be provided to its citizens. But instead of addressing the root of the problem which is understaffed and under-resourced hospitals due the corruption that you condone on a daily basis, you want to implement a system that will drive your health professionals away and force your small percentage of tax payers to emigrate.
Before you consider implementing such a bill, might I suggest that you pay a visit to the rural hospitals where a large portion of your citizens are receiving healthcare. Maybe then you will understand that before you can run, you must walk. You need to improve primary health care and address the atrocities that are taking place at grass root level before you can try implement a system that will surely fail unless your set a firm, effective and stable foundation for its development.