From CompliNEWS | Financial Service Intelligence Watch

Treasury forecasts lengthy timeline for NHI implementation

The government’s plans for National Health Insurance (NHI) are likely to take many years to implement as there is limited scope to fund it with higher taxes, a senior Treasury official told the annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) conference on Wednesday.

The first legislation for the scheme, the NHI Bill, was passed by Parliament in December but has yet to be signed into law by the President, according to BusinessLIVE. How it will be financed has yet to be finalised but the Health Department has previously said it expects to raise an additional R200bn for NHI with taxes. ‘It is quite likely the evolution of NHI will be gradual over many years (and it is) likely it will not be promulgated all at once,’ said the Treasury’s chief director for health and social development, Mark Blecher. The current financial environment had created budget pressures throughout the government and it would be difficult to generate additional funding for health by raising taxes, he said. It was difficult to make the case for increasing the proportion of public money set aside for health as it was already high relative to many other countries, said Blecher. SA allocates between 13% and 14% of its budget to health, more than triple the share set aside by India (3.7%) and double that of Egypt (6.8%), he said.

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