Cosatu has harshly criticised the Department of Health’s proposal to introduce a multi-payer system for the National Health Insurance (NHI).
This system‚ according to a statement from Cosatu‚ is an attempt by the department to “water down and destroy” the NHI.
The statement said the department’s director general‚ Precious Matsoso‚ had been meeting with leaders of the medical aid schemes to rope them into being part of the NHI.
“COSATU is adamant that in introducing the NHI ‚ there should be no public-private partnerships(PPP’s) ‚ including the outsourcing of public operations in health facilities‚” the statement said.
“We will fight any attempt to introduce any multi-payer system‚ where instead of a single fund (NHI Fund) that is intended to ensure that the rich subsidies the poor‚ there would be a number of separate funds or medical schemes organised according to incomes of people and others operated by the private sector‚” it said.
Cosatu said the introduction of such a multi-payer system would undermine the cross subsidisation of the poor by the rich.
“The federation is committed to ensuring that all workers‚ who are at the moment working for private medical schemes are going to be transferred to the public service under a single fund.
“The department is converting the NHI into the South African version of Obamacare ‚ where the priority is to meet the needs of private health profiteers instead of those of poor people‚” it said.
Cosatu said there were “shocking inequalities and problems” in South Africa’s healthcare system‚ and it vowed to fight to ensure that the NHI favours the working class.
“The Department of Health is betraying the poor by handing over the NHI to private hands and is also betraying the voters‚ who were promised a single payer NHI in the 2014 National Elections ANC manifesto‚” it said.
Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said: “it is extremely unfortunate for Cosatu to say that without speaking to me.”
Motsoaledi said Cosatu shouldn’t take what appeared in a newspaper as official policy.
“I am still very much committed to NHI. I don’t know where Cosatu gets the multi-payer idea from‚” he said.
Motsoaledi said the implementation of the NHI would be a process and not an “event“. “So the NHI is going to live alongside medical aids. It’s a process of implementation‚” he said.