Motsoaledi playing to the gallery
Tebogo Sewapa Stellenbosch In criticising the Free Market Foundation’s proposed alternative to the unworkable and unaffordable proposed National Health Insurance scheme, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi accuses the foundation of “[seeking to create] a new kind of apartheid, where the rich do not mix with the poor”.
I suggest that Motsoaledi check on the foundation’s two decades of opposition to apartheid and four-decades-long history of fighting for the rights of small traders, street traders, the unemployed, consumers and, particularly, the poor and marginalised.
I have researched some of the policy issues that are now the official stance of the foundation, and can state authoritatively that this organisation is concerned only with increasing access to quality healthcare for the poor. How the rich choose to spend their money is of no concern.
The aim is to extend to the poor the quality healthcare that is already available for the rich. The only feasible, efficient and affordable way to achieve this outcome is for government to use scarce taxpayer resources in the same way as it does for other constitutionally mandated objectives, such as housing and education, where the state cares for the poor and leaves the voluntary private market alone.
Advanced, developed countries, such as Canada and Britain, which have per capita incomes more than three times greater than South Africa’s, are struggling to meet healthcare demands under their “free healthcare for all” systems.
It is unreasonable to assume that a poor, developing country such as South Africa can afford to do so.
The evidence is clear to see. There is no need to play to the gallery. The minister must focus on the dismal state of public hospitals before he messes with the private healthcare providers and millions of taxpayers.