Health security and universal health coverage remain key tenets to promoting growth, job creation, productivity, and much needed investment into our economy. Investment requires certainty and predictability in policy implementation and execution. Health security and universal health coverage is not just an issue for the private health sector, but cuts across all sectors of business and business in its entirety.
Covid-19 shone a strong spotlight on the inequalities that exist in the healthcare system and the need to further establish capacity to deal with public health crises and future pandemics.
To this end, and during recent engagements between business and the President of the Republic, we agree with the President that we must find collaborate for the private and public sectors to work together in a sustainable way to achieve universal coverage and National Health Insurance (NHI). We support the establishment of the NHI fund within this context, as we view this as an important way for coordinating the delivery of care to all in South Africa, and for there to be meaningful public private partnerships in healthcare delivery for all.
As an immediate first step we are strongly supportive of building partnership models that will enhance access to healthcare cover, particularly for the employed uninsured where there is an opportunity to build on a partnership approach to funding through the framework that the Council for Medical Schemes has developed.
We also support the enhancement of the medical scheme regulatory framework to accommodate the learnings from covid-19 and the need for more affordable cover. We support the stated intent of moving forward Health Market Inquiry (HMI) recommendations including amendments to the Medical Schemes Act and Regulations.
There is an urgent need to move to value based care and the opportunity to use viable reimbursement frameworks incorporating multi-disciplinary teams to ensure patient-centered care with measurable outcomes. This also includes clinically appropriate use of digital health tools.
Whilst the summit is both critical and timely, as business we need to express our frustration with the significant regulatory lag, red tape, and administrative burden and in instances, lack of regulatory reform which prevents the private sector taking on further public sector patients and other much needed intervention. In line with the President and cabinet’s call to reduce red tape and to improve the ease of doing business, we wish to make a clarion call today for a significant acceleration to this imperative in line with the work that Mr. Sipho Nkosi and the President are carrying out – this needs to be amplified in the healthcare sector.
Business encourages the public sector to strengthen its efforts towards the localisation of medical products, including medicines, consumables, and equipment. This is especially highlighted by our joint pandemic experience, where we learned that health security must include vaccine independence.
Employers, taxpayers, and corporate citizens recognise that a healthy workforce is the foundation of a productive economy and that protection against health expenditure shocks is a significant element of social wellbeing.
Business has proven to be a reliable and responsive partner to government during the pandemic and wishes to engage jointly on the future of the healthcare system and in delivering equitable, consistent, and sustainable healthcare to all South Africans, in accordance with a model that embraces efficiency, commercial sustainability and is fiscally affordable to our country, with the requisite checks and balances and governance best practice.
Business Unity SA CEO
____________________________________________________________________For more information, please contact:
Tel: 011 784 8000/0766516444