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Latest on NHI White Paper

The information below was printed in Legalbrief Today last week.

The National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper and a draft financing paper are expected to begin the process of being scrutinised by Cabinet within the next four weeks, reports Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch.

This was the gist of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s response to questions raised in the National Assemby this week by the DA’s Heinrich Volmink. The Minister made no reference to public consultations on NHI funding options, despite an undertaking in Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s February budget speech that a discussion paper would be released ‘shortly’ with that in mind.

While the Finance Minister seemed to be under the impression that the White Paper would also be made available soon, Motsoaledi’s remarks suggest otherwise. He told the NA members that ‘due to … strong links between the two papers’ it was agreed that they should be published and tabled in Parliament together – ‘before the end of December’. The Minister attributed delays in finalising the White Paper to the complexity of the proposals concerned, the importance of ensuring that stakeholder input is taken into account, and ‘various deliberations’ with National Treasury on associated institutional and financing reforms.

Nearly four years have passed since the release of a Green Paper for comment.

I suspect the final document may be printed in parchment, which lasts longer than ordinary paper.

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