According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill would be a disaster for South African citizens.
The political party noted how the African National Congress-led (ANC) government planned on eliminating private healthcare in favour of NHI. However, seven out of eight provinces were said to be collapsing due to non-payment of invoices.
NHI will fail due to invoice non-payment
The provinces were led by the ANC and the department of
health was the biggest offender. On 30 March 2019, provincial health
departments owed R5.8 billion in unpaid invoices which were older than 30 days.
Three months later, the number had gone up with an
additional R3.7 billion of unpaid debt. The DA's Leon Schreiber, a member of
parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, felt
this was a clear indication that running the NHI wasn't a good idea.
Schreiber said the government wouldn't run the R256 billion
NHI fund successfully if they couldn't “ensure that the current public health
sector pays providers and other contractors on time.”
The MP felt that the government was unfair to “expect South
Africans to put their lives in the hands of the same incompetent and corrupt
cadres who cannot even process invoices.”
Public services still hold unpaid invoices
South African public services are struggling to execute their
“most basic functions.” Two months ago, the national and provincial governments
owed businesses R7.1 billion in unpaid invoices which were older than 30 days.
Since then, between April and June 2019, provincial
governments added an additional R4.3 billion in debt to businesspeople and
workers. Schreiber shared that the DA-run Western Cape was the exception.
The province only accounts for 0.01% of the outstanding debt. The political party accused the ANC of being “hellbent on collapsing the private sector.”
The ANC-led Gauteng and the Eastern Cape provinces were said
to be refusing to pay around R1.5 billion and R1.8 billion respectively. The
amounts were racked up in just three months.
The debt was just part of what the provinces still owed at
the end of the last financial year.
DA proposes alternative for NHI
The DA has since called on the ANC to cancel its plans for
nationalizing healthcare. The political party warned that NHI would become
“Eskom for healthcare.”
Schreiber's party urged for the adaptation of the DA's
Sizani Plan for Universal Healthcare. The political party explained how their
plan would provide “universal coverage that is free at the point of care.”
“Instead of its NHI fantasies, the government should focus on getting the basics right by building a capable state that creates opportunities for citizens to prosper." Leon Schreiber, DA member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration
The MP continued:
"We can only achieve this by eradicating cadre deployment, basing appointments on merit and skill, and giving the Public Service Commission much greater power to act against the officials suffocating the life out of our economy.” Leon Schreiber, DA member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration