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The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

According to the Government Gazette, the bill seeks to “create mechanisms for the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of the fund’s resources to meet users’ health needs”.

The bill, which was first introduced in Parliament during August 2019, will cover South Africans of all races, rich or poor, as well as legal, long-term residents.

The bill aims to create one pool of healthcare funding for private and public healthcare providers alike.

If the bill goes all the way and becomes legislation, every South African will have a right to access comprehensive healthcare services, free of charge, at accredited health facilities like clinics, hospitals and private health practitioners.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has called it one of the most revolutionary pieces of legislation presented to the NA since the dawn of democracy.

“The reality… is that this situation is not sustainable. As the number of people in formal jobs is not rising in line with the investment in private healthcare and the cost of administering medical aids, the cost of subscription is rising above inflation every year, while benefits are reducing and getting exhausted before the end of every calendar year.”

Image credit: Dear South Africa

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