The government plans a National Health Insurance (NHI) fund this year that would start with maternal health services, improved psychiatric care and services for the elderly and disabled, and may be partially financed by a reduction in the tax subsidy currently given to medical scheme members, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced.

Business Day reports that this is the first strong signal of progress on the NHI from Treasury since last year’s budget when Gordhan said it would soon issue a financing proposal for the policy, which promises sweeping reforms to South Africa’s healthcare system. That proposal has yet to materialise, partly because work is still under way to refine the NHI White Paper put out by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in 2015. …more