Health Systems

TAC Welcomes Publication of NHI White Paper

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the publication of the long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) white paper.

TAC supports the principles of social solidarity and risk-sharing that underpin NHI. We consider a progressive and an effectively structured and implemented NHI to be essential to the achievement of universal health coverage in South Africa in the medium to long term.

We will not at this stage comment on the details of the proposals in the white paper. We will first consult with our members and members of our communities about the specific proposals. We will do our best to enhance understanding of the key issues among our members and the broader public.

We are aware that NHI will not in itself solve the dysfunction plaguing our public healthcare system in many provinces. We also find it hard to see how NHI could work if uncommitted people continue to be appointed to influential positions in our public healthcare system. NHI could only succeed if it is accompanied by an end to cadre-deployment and very strong political will to deal openly and effectively with the dysfunction in our public healthcare system.

The proposed NHI scheme is in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 which aims to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. The publication of the white paper comes shortly ahead of universal health coverage day on December 12. A group of 267 economists from 44 countries recently endorsed the principles of universal health coverage in a declaration published in the Lancet medical journal.

For media comment contact TAC General Secretary Anele Yawa on 079 328 1215.