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Ramaphosa says he will sign the National Health Insurance bill into law

South African clinic   -  
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Denis Farrell/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

South Africa

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is just a matter of time before he signs a National Health Insurance bill into law.

The controversial bill, passed by lawmakers last year, aims to provide universal health coverage to all South Africans.

Speaking to journalists in Cape Town on Thursday, Ramaphosa did not however provide any further details as to when this might happen.

Political parties and other stakeholders are deeply opposed to the NHI bill and have threatened to take the government to court if it is signed into law.

They say it will lead to disinvestment in the healthcare sector, where private and public systems exists in parallel, and damage South Africa’s already fragile economy.

There are also concerns that implementation of the bill will be undermined by widespread corruption and budget restraints which see the country struggling to fund basic services.

Doctors with the South African Medical Association say they do not believe the bill will achieve what is sets out to do.

Two business organisations, Business Unity South Africa and Business for South Africa, say that while they support moving towards universal health coverage, they have reservations about the bill’s “design and implementation”.

They have called for it to be sent back to parliament for amendments.

The NHI bill, which will be implemented in stages at a cost of billions of dollars, is popular among voters as the country heads into a competitive election year.

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