We really do not need the National Health Insurance, certainly not its current form and shape. The only time we need the NHI is when Minister Motsoaledi is looking for a PR exercise that will deflect attention from his incompetency, which has brought public healthcare to its knees.

Having read through the Bill that was published late last week, I am now certain that the National Health Insurance is a profoundly terrible solution for a problem we do not have; which is to say that if we actually did have real challenges concerning access to healthcare, the NHI would have been a grossly inadequate and just downright bad proposition.

Believe it or not, South Africa, in theory and in practice, actually has universal health coverage. The National Health Act, in its current form and shape, guarantees access to healthcare for all; it provides free primary healthcare for every citizen, sets conditions for free health services in district and tertiary hospitals, stipulates strict conditions under which a patient may not be turned away, even when presenting at a private hospital, and defines the framework for a means test to bill those who can afford in the public sector setting what is termed “Kuthiwa ukukhokhela i-file”, an amount that ranges from R42 to R65. ….more