The new National Health Insurance (NHI) that the ANC-regime wants to implement is facing fierce opposition from doctors and medical professionals in the Free State. These medics are currently threatening to go overseas, meanwhile, the Free State DA has also been involved in a fight with Montsent Tsiu, the MEC of Health in the province. The parties involved confirm that the NHI is going to become an unaffordable system that is doomed even before it is implemented.
The doctors support the principle of health care for all but reckon that the NHI is not a feasible system. It is believed that if doctors are first harmed by being prohibited from opening private practices and patients are forced upon them whom they must pay attention within 24 hours, they will simply walk.
According to reports from Network 24, Marietta Pittaway, DA MPW, accused Tsiu of sitting in the Free State Legislature for “prematurely” informing parliament that the Free State provincial government and the larger Free State community supported the NHI, while the process of public participation has barely begun.
But Tsiu said she only sent letters of objection to the names of those who supported the NHI as a bill and those who opposed it.
She acknowledged that she had informed parliament that the province’s executive committee supports the proposed bill.
Pittaway accused Tsiu of “undermining” and “disrupting” his public participation processes, which are yet to take place.
Pittaway also said the DA had a complaint with National Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize tabled on this.
Meanwhile, Dr Freek Bester, Bloemfontein specialist and former president of the Free State Bone of the South African Medical Association (Sama), said that Free State specialists and doctors had filed grievances and concerns in two bulky sets of documents at Sama and the South African Private Practitioners Forum.
Bester says if the law becomes a reality, it’s going to double Eskom’s budget and could open the door to similar problems of mismanagement and corruption that currently exist with Eskom, Prasa and SAA.
It could also mean that large sums of money, like what happens at other government entities, will be nationalized as healthcare.
Bester says there are doctors who threaten to pack their bags if they are harmed and prescribed by the NHI.
“This is because doctors do not want to be restrained and want to be prescribed and overthrown by a lot of state officials all the time.”
Bester also says the problem is that little detailed information is provided.
“Doctors support the principle of healthcare for everyone, but reckon that the NHI will become an affordable system that is doomed even before it is implemented.”
Bester says the Free State doctors he spoke to do not think it will be “enforceable legislation”.
Pittaway believes Tsiu has undermined parliamentary processes by informing parliament about the Free State’s sentiment on the bill, while Free State sessions are still barely started or finalized.
According to Pittaway, Tsiu hampered the processes of public participation with her “irresponsible” and “politically motivated actions” by also handing out leaflets, which support the proposed legislation, at public meetings in the Free State.
“The Free State Department of Health must play an independent role, but now everyone is in the blink of an eye.
“It has blatantly undermined Parliament’s role and its process of public participation, as prescribed by law. This is set out in the Lamosa decision in a court case on a similar case. ”
Tsiu’s behaviour could bring legal challenges to the bill, Pittaway said.
“The DA has an alternative Sizani Universal Health Plan, which can deliver quality health without crippling the economy.
“The DA has submitted more than 87,000 submissions from doctors as well as the public to the relevant portfolio committee of Parliament and will ensure that everyone is looked at,” Pittaway said.
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