The public hearings for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill have been extended to the end of November, as the Portfolio Committee has approved this extension.
When will NHI Bill public hearings start?
In a recent communication, Parliament had sent to all political parties represented in the National Assembly informing them of the start of countrywide public hearings on the NHI Bill, and these hearings were scheduled to close at the end of October.
The public hearings will hear comments regarding the NHI Bill and open dialogue for any concerns citizens might have; as these public hearings will also take place on weekends to accommodate people unavailable during the week.
Parliament has indicated that information about public hearings in other provinces would be communicated timeously and venues, days, and times would be communicated closer to the start of the hearings.
“We have been considering the requests from relevant stakeholders who play an important role in the delivery of healthcare in the country. Having considered these requests, we have agreed to extend the closing date for written submissions to 29 November 2019.”
With the new extension being approved, it does not affect the prescribed dates in Mpumalanga from 25 to 28 October. Thereafter, the committee would move to the Northern Cape for hearings from 1 to 4 November.
Citizens are urged to submit written comments and those who are interested in making a verbal presentation should indicate timeously directly to Parliament, whether by fax or email.
“The stakeholders proposed mid-November as the closing date for written submissions. The committee has agreed to extend the closing date by two weeks more than the time requested by the stakeholders as there will be no other extension for written submissions.”
Why are there NHI Bill public hearings?
The NHI Bill is set to be nationalised and blend into the South African health system, and the public hearings are set in place to see every citizen and entity oversees the process before the heavily criticised bill is nationalised.
The NHI Bill has faced backlash from opposition parties claiming the inadequacies of the bill need to be resolved before taking over the Soth African health system.
The DA points out the inadequacies of the NHI Bill
The DA claims the NHI Bill is not a sustainable funding model, and the role of each province in the implementation is unclear in the proposed health care model.
The party claims that the role of medical-aid schemes is not defined through the NHI, and citizens will only have an option to rely on the “broken health system”; and added tax burden to supplement the bill is an inconvenience for an economy that is performing like South Africa’s.