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President Ramaphosa set to sign NHI Bill into law on Wednesday


President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to sign the controversial National Health Insurance Bill into law on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Linda Mthombeni

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa is set to sign the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday.

During the 2024 State of the Nation Address (Sona), Ramaphosa mentioned that the NHI Bill arrived in his office, teasing that: “I am still looking for a pen” (to sign it).

The Presidency confirmed in a statement on Monday that Ramaphosa found the pen he was looking for to authorise the bill.

The signing of the bill will take place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The objective of the NHI Bill is to provide universal access to quality health care for all South Africans of all races, rich or poor, and legal long-term residents.

Through the bill, South Africans will no longer be required to contribute directly to a medical health scheme to get quality health care. The NHI will ostensibly make health care more affordable, by reducing the cost of health care for all.

People without medical aid will not be charged when visiting health care facilities because the NHI fund would cover the costs in the same way that medical schemes do for their members.

The NHI will be funded from general taxes, contributions of persons earning above a set amount, and monthly contributions made by employees to the fund.

The aim is to have one pool of health care funding for private and public health care providers alike.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) voted in favour of the bill last year, after the bill was tabled in 2019.

The bill has, however, been met with criticism from opposition parties and other groups who said the bill was unconstitutional and would destroy the health sector.

Many threatened to take legal action against the government if the law was passed.

Meanwhile, the Health Department stated that the bill will not replace medical aid schemes, adding that members will be free to continue with their medical schemes if they still wish to.

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