Petition to Ramaphosa to abandon NGV

Henry

The Association of Health Financiers (HFA) has petitioned pres. Directed Cyril Ramaphosa to abandon the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) because it will “encroach on the rights of all South Africans by destroying the country’s health care system”.

Craig Comrie, chairman of the HFA, says they are asking the president to withhold approval of the bill on constitutional and procedural grounds and warns that the organization will challenge the issue, if necessary, all the way to the Constitutional Court.

The HFA says the implementation of the legislation poses a significant threat to the entire healthcare system.

“Should the need arise, the HFA is prepared to take the case further to the courts. Our goal is to bring the legislation into line with the original goals of universal health care, as well as with the principles contained in the South African Constitution,” says Comrie.

Despite great opposition and criticism that the NGV is not only unworkable, impracticable and unaffordable, but probably also unconstitutional on substantive and procedural grounds, the bill was passed in parliament earlier.

This triggered a new wave of protests with numerous requests to Ramaphosa to send the bill back to parliament for reconsideration.

Comrie says the HFA’s opposition to the bill protects the interests of all South Africans who will need health care in the future; this includes those whom the association has an obligation to protect through the medical funds and administrators who represent the HFA.

The HFA supports universal health care, but questions parliament’s approval of a bill that creates significant constitutional and procedural questions and fundamentally cannot establish a sustainable system of universal health care, says Comrie.

In its letter to Ramaphosa, the association emphasizes two major issues:

  • Constitutional concern: the NGV’s clear infringement of constitutional rights, especially the right to access health care and freedom of choice for South Africans, and by implication the right to life. The HFA says that in this respect the NGV is extremely flawed and undermines the rule of law.
  • Procedural concerns: The extent and effectiveness of public input during the drafting and review of the bill, with thousands of submissions having no effect on the bill. The HFA calls for a more inclusive and consultative process.

The letter pleads with Ramaphosa to exercise his powers and refer the bill back to parliament for review.

In addition to directly petitioning the president, the HFA will oppose the bill in its current form by any other means available. This includes legal action to have the legislation set aside.

“The HFA is also going to seek a High Court order against the implementation of the National Health Funding Act until the merits of our case have been heard in the High Court and a verdict delivered,” says Comrie.

“It is with heavy hearts that we make this plea and appeal to the president to ensure the rights and well-being of our people. We will stand firm to ensure that what is right prevails in our country.

“South Africa deserves leadership that puts the well-being of its citizens above all else.”