National Health Insurance now under wing of president

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
Image: Gallo Images

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the National Health Insurance (NHI) might be referred to as “Ramaphosacare”‚ as the president was now in charge of the bill which would see the government roll out universal healthcare across the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of a media conference at the ANC’s headquarters on Sunday‚ Motsoaledi said the NHI was too big an issue to be dealt with alone by the minister of health.

He said he had since asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the planning and the roll-out of the NHI because that would be the only way equal‚ universal healthcare in SA would become a reality.

Since then‚ a war room has been established in the presidency to finalise the bill for parliament to approve.

“In the US, universal health coverage was called Obamacare. Why? Because the team was in former president [Barack] Obama’s office. Many of you didn’t know who the US minister of health was, but you heard about Obamacare.”

Motsoaledi said some things that were required for NHI could only be done by the president‚ because the minister of health could not instruct the minister of finance for budget allocations nor instruct the minister of home affairs to change certain legislation.

Motsoaledi said the war room‚ headed by Ramaphosa’s health and social issues adviser Professor Olive Shisana‚ was an effort to make the long-delayed NHI a reality in the sixth administration.

He said part of NHI would see to the change of 12 healthcare laws , including the Health Care Act of 2003.