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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Business Day by Johan Serffontein.]

The long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill was published last week and the majority of MPs cheered. It was reminiscent of Nero, fiddling while Rome burned.

The bill is a perfect example of state overreach, and also illustrates the strange phenomenon of legislation that is written and does not get close to addressing its express purpose. Phrases such as “aims to achieve sustainable and affordable universal access to quality health-care services” appear in the bill, without any reference to how an initiative that has failed to provide clarity on its potential cost for 10 years can somehow be considered affordable and sustainable.

The official government line seems to be “we cannot afford not to implement it”, but we actually can. Not implementing NHI will not ruin the economy and will not chase thousands of taxpayers and health-care professionals out of the country. Not implementing it creates the opportunity to look at ways of addressing the current problems in the health-care sector in a pragmatic way, which might lead to positive change.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
3.7% y/y in October 2019 (CPI) & +4.1 y/y in September 2019 (PPI)
3.1% q/q (2nd quarter of 2019)
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