22/06/2018 12:42 SAST | Updated 22/06/2018 12:43 SAST

Motsoaledi: The Rich And The Poor Must Be Able To Reach Both Healthcare Systems

'We want all South Africans to be able to use all facilities.'

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the whole idea behind National Health Insurance is for the 84 percent of South Africans who only have access to the public health system to be able to access private facilities as well.

"People, the rich and the poor must be able to reach both healthcare systems because when you use them both there is synergy. One has got a lot of skilled human beings, specialists and all that and the other has less," he said on the Talk Radio 702 breakfast show on Friday.

"We want all South Africans to be able to use all facilities," he added.

Speaking to host Bongani Bingwa, Motsoaledi highlighted major issues in the health sector.

"These two problems are sort of like twins, the first is the exorbitant cost of healthcare and the second is the poor quality in the public healthcare sector and we are solving them together in order to achieve universal health coverage," he said.

Motsoaledi announced that Cabinet has agreed to the amendments in the Medical Aid Schemes Bill to run simultaneously with the implementation of the NHI Bill on Thursday.

Although Parliament still needs to debate about the legislation before implementation, Motsoaledi says government will implement at least four NHI projects soon.

Some of the amendments to the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill is to abolish copayments and brokers, which Motsoaledi says will help make private health more affordable.

The NHI is a financing system that is supposed to make sure that all South Africans (and legal long-term residents) are provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the NHI Fund.

Corruption in health departments

Motsoaledi says the Bill looks at ways to prevent corruption rather than addressing it once it arises.

"We are arguing that one of the reasons why corruption is so rife in the country is that all our methods of fighting corruption are postmortem. You wait for the corruption to happen, then we send in the Hawks, the SIU... ," he explained.

He went on to speak about how the department "abhors corruption in all its forms".

That is why the department is looking for ideas on how to prevent any dodgy dealings.

"We are making a proposal that we put systems that make it [corruption] difficult or impossible to happen that is basically what we want to propose."