AN UNHEALTHY STATE OF AFFAIRS
The reasoning behind the government’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme is sound: medical treatment and care of an acceptable standard is becoming more and more beyond the reach of the average citizen. The private medical industry, including the medical schemes (despite their protests against rising medical costs), is a self-reinforcing clique. Service providers keep upping their fees, to unreasonable levels in many instances, and in response the medical schemes keep upping contribution levels (well above the inflation rate) while reducing or limiting the benefits available to members. This is resulting in a steady decline in membership across medical schemes.
Turning to the public health system, we won’t even go there – the decline in standards over the past two decades beggars belief.
The major problem with NHI is not what it proposes, although it could find a way to better accommodate the private health sector. It is in the public’s now unshakeable conviction that, even if it does find the funding, which at the moment is pie-in-the-sky, NHI will go the way of Eskom, Prasa, SAA, or any other SOE you may care to mention.
The obvious solution to this mess is to fix the public health system. Then, as one sane commentator in my story on page 6 put it, you won’t need NHI.
Also in this edition, get a thorough grounding of the greylisting saga and what South Africa needs to do to avoid being lumped with rogue nations such as Haiti, Myanmar and Syria – from Gareth Stokes on page 10.
For the investment-minded, global asset manager Schroders has provided an interesting piece on thematic investing (finding companies that are tapping into the industries of the future), paying heed to inflation and macro-economic headwinds. See page 16.
So, do enjoy the read as you wind down to what I hope will be a peaceful, relaxing year-end.
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