Targeting medical scheme reserves for vaccine funding is NHI by stealth – Michael Settas
Pat Sidley’s article “Medical scheme reserves: A shot in the arm for mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign” (Daily Maverick 11 January 2021) raises several aspects of historical and current contention in the private healthcare industry. No doubt some of her points are valid, but they have also raised a few questions, potentially requiring a more nuanced appraisal of the history of medical schemes, government’s policy on healthcare funding and the contentious National Health Insurance (NHI) proposal.
Sidley appears to be at ease in presuming that the overcharging of vaccines for medical scheme members — in order to subsidise uninsured citizens — is appropriate. In the context of the nation’s current dire situation in battling the Covid-19 pandemic, she may well be correct. But we should be cautioned against potentially treating this glibly if that is indeed the stance from medical schemes. If schemes fail to apply their minds collectively, there is considerable risk in the proposition manifesting precedence for future policy discussions.
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Publish date: 27 January 2021
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.