South Africa’s Constitution every citizen has the right to access healthcare services. Yet the stark reality is that for most of SA’s population that right is worth less than the paper it’s written on.
Speaking at the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) Southern Africa conference recently, Blum Khan, CEO of the Metropolitan Health Group, said SA had to look at new ways of offering a national healthcare system – with large private institutions playing a significant role.
A partnership between the public and private health sectors, and the willingness of private healthcare insurance companies to be involved and add value, would make an NHI workable, Khan said.
In his presentation at Sun City he outlined future payment scenarios, saying the “single payer model” and not the current multi-payer model – which comprised a host of competing private schemes – was preferred by Government. Though the single payer fund would probably be administered by Government there could be allowance for “top-up” funding. “It will be simpler for patients and save on overheads,” Khan said.
In reality, the enormous cost of implementing an NHI while providing basic healthcare would be what encouraged Government to consider a partnership with private healthcare funders. Private administrators had the experience and systems in place to make an NHI work.
Khan outlined his five-point view on how an NHI could work in SA, based in part on his experiences of the implementation of a similar system in Australia, where he previously lived.” First of all, a partnership between the public and private sector is absolutely critical to the whole process. Second, all SA residents will play a role in an NHI. That will be phased in, with employed citizens paying first and then the self-employed coming on board. Third, citizens who currently have private
New ways must be investigated