A key issue of the proposed Medical Schemes Amendment Bill is the impact on doctors, resulting from a proposed uniform tariff for healthcare services.
Concerns have been raised about the proposed Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, one of many health-related bills which have been going through various motions in Parliament.
Recently, the cabinet approved the Bill to regulate medical schemes, and it will now be published and made available for public comment.
Among the concerns raised is the impact of a proposed uniform tariff for healthcare services, leading to a possible exodus of doctors and other healthcare professionals to countries where they can get “full value” for their services by charging tariffs they see as reasonable.
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Bonitas Medical Fund welcomes the draft amendment Bill to the end that it aims to make healthcare more accessible.
“While in principle we support the actions of the government and applaud them for taking proactive measures to improve the quality of national healthcare in South Africa, we have reservations and concerns around some of the proposed amendments. And this not only in respect of representing private medical schemes,” says Kenneth Marion, COO of Bonitas Medical Fund.
The universal National Health Insurance Bill proposed by The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘universal health coverage means people will receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship’.
Plans by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to push ahead with the National Health Insurance (NHI), is an act of desperation. It is a decision doomed to failure from the outset.
The minister is completely out of touch with the crisis in the South African public health system, and this was highlighted by his denial of a crisis despite the damning report from the commissioner of the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).
Recent presentations to the Portfolio Committee on Health by each of the provinces, the OHSC and the Auditor-General, painted a picture of a health system that has collapsed entirely. It is beyond a crisis, it has simply failed.
DA visits to hospitals and clinics around the country have exposed medicine shortages, equipment shortages and a severe shortage of beds. In most hospitals visited, infrastructure is collapsing and lack of maintenance in facilities is painfully obvious.
Two of the proposed amendments to the Medical Schemes Act will do away with co-payments, and abolish the practice of using brokers within the medical schemes environment.
Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said co-payments mean that the scheme pays a portion of the bill that a provider – be it hospital or private doctor – charges to a patient. The rest of the funds are supposed to be paid by the patient from their own pocket.
“The amendment means that every cent charged to the patient must be settled fully by the scheme and the patient should not be burdened with having to pay. There are people who will scream that this amendment is outrageous and calculated to destroy medical schemes and leave beneficiaries with nothing. I want to assure you that this was well thought out,” he said.
According to data at the department’s disposal, medical schemes are holding close to R60bn in unused reserves. While there is a statutory requirement that me Continue reading…
With doctors already a scarce resource in South Africa, the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) legislation could see a large number of medical professionals skip the country. Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi presented the controversial bill last week, along with the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill which, if implemented, could see a huge shakeup in both.. Continue reading…