The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted but is not surprised by the recent attacks on NHI by private hospital monopolies, the Free Market Foundation and others, such as the DA and foreign-funded NGOs.
The Democratic Alliance, in particular, has been very hysterical in its reaction to the NHI Bill but it not surprising to hear that the party of the rich does not care about the plight of the poor majority in this country.
The NHI stands for everything that the DA despises like the cross-subsidisation of the poor by the rich. The NHI is about guaranteeing all South Africans quality and affordable health care, based on their health care needs, irrespective of their income status and will be free at the point of service. It will be implemented through the creation of a single fund or single-payer system that is publicly financed and publicly administered as opposed to the current fragmented and wasteful multi-payer system.
The DA’s pathetic and unhelpful “sizani” plan is a mere continuation of the status quo with the poor continuing to receive a small portion of health spending as a percentage of GDP, while the rich continue to enjoy the spoils of a wasteful and overused private health care system.
The centralisation of the administration of the NHI fund will ensure for greater efficiencies as the fund serves as the single purchaser, as well as single-payer of health care services on behalf of registered users of the fund. This allows the fund to leverage off its size to set prices for health care services and products making health care affordable for all South Africans.
The current fragmented and wasteful health system benefits the funders of the DA and they are hell-bent on sacrificing the poor. COSATU wants to remind the government of the ANC that the majority of South Africans voted for a manifesto that committed to the implementation of universal healthcare through the NHI.
The Federation is fully behind the NHI but we also understand that it is but one aspect of the transformation of the health system, in fact, it is just a fund intended for pooling resources in order to distribute equitably in buying medicine and paying for the costs of service. There are many challenges in the public health system such as the poor state of infrastructure, management failure, patients subjected to long queues, dirty laundry, shortage of doctors, etc. As a federation, we are committed not only to the creation of the NHI but also the transformation of the health system, including the operations of institutions.
We urge all South Africans to stand up and reject the immoral and sick business of healthcare profiteering that is being championed and defended by the Democratic Alliance and its fraternal organisations.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794