South Africa : Universal Health Bill Divides

Since the introduction of the bill, opposition parties as well as health unions have been calling for its cancellation.

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has defended his plan to sign into law a bill aimed at providing universal health coverage. The National Health Insurance (NHI) bill seeks to give South Africans “of all races, rich or poor and legal long-term residents” access to quality healthcare. Announcing the putting in place of the NHI bill to the public, President Ramahposa said, “The NHI is one of those focus areas which is going to help poor people and now the opposition on NHI is coming from the well to rich people. This is what often happens, the haves don’t want have nots to benefit from what they have been having," the President added. Supporters of the bill have hailed it as a generational change that will reverse persistent inequality. They add that, «the Constitution recognizes healthcare as a fundamental human right and state that “everyone has the right to have access to health care services…the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights and no one may be refused emergency medical treatment.” They reiterated.
The main opposition party, alongside a number of labour and business groups, have said they will take legal action against a bill. On Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party accused the President of using the bill as an electioneering tool just days before the polls and promised to take the matter to court. “Our legal team was briefed months ago already and will file our legal challenge against this devastatin...



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