While the DA, EFF, IFP and other parties have rejected the recently adopted National Health Insurance Bill, the SACP alongside its alliance partner, ANC, have welcomed it.
The bill, which has been long-time in the making and has faced widespread criticism, especially from the private sector and the medical schemes sector, has been billed as being able to achieve universal healthcare, was passed by an overwhelming majority of MPs on Wednesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, the South African Communist Party (SACP) said it welcomes the passing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill by the National Council of Provinces and called it a milestone for the country’s healthcare system.
“This marks a significant milestone towards aligning our healthcare system with the principles of equality and social solidarity.
“The SACP stresses the importance of redistributing more from high incomes and more so the surplus that the wealthy appropriate from our economy to deliver quality universal healthcare coverage,” the party said.
The SACP’s remarks on the bill echoed, Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla’s sentiments, who defended the Bill on its embodiment of the spirit of ubuntu.
“The large majority by far, of citizens, supported this NHI Bill. And I want to say those people knew what they are looking for. They were not misled as others want us to believe,“ the minister said.
According to the SACP, the next step now is for President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign it off into law.
The one-third of the tripartite alliance said the Bill is good for the country’s poor citizens who are excluded from medical care.
“The next step is for the president to sign the Bill into law, to ensure that the NHI is implemented in line with the developmental aspirations of the people, the majority of whom are working-class and poor, to contribute towards dismantling social inequality in healthcare and the neglect of too many workers and poor people’s health needs.
“Part of this work will be the establishment of a National Health Insurance Fund, guaranteeing free, quality and comprehensive healthcare coverage for all,” it said.
However, the DA has slammed the adoption of the bill and accused the ANC government of having sacrificed both the public and private health sectors for the sake of votes in the upcoming elections.
“The ANC government has proven that it cares not one iota about the very people the NHI is ostensibly meant to serve.
“None of the many submissions raising concerns and questions about the NHI Bill was ever taken into consideration, despite the fact that the Constitutional Court judgment on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act has it very clear that “a reasonable opportunity to participate in legislative affairs must be an opportunity capable of influencing the decision to be taken.
“It is unreasonable if the content of a public hearing could not possibly affect Parliament’s deliberations on the legislation,” Michele Clarke of the DA said.