Health, South Africa

Cabinet approves White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI)

Cabinet has approved the White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI) to be gazetted as a policy document.

National Health Insurance (NHI), Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

Cabinet on Thursday said that the White Paper takes the country closer to ensuring all South Africans have access to healthcare, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs.

“This is consistent with the National Development Plan’s objective that seeks to ensure everyone has access to healthcare, regardless of their income,” Cabinet said in statement.

The Department of Health will on Thursday, 29 June hold a briefing to fully unpack the elements of the White Paper.

During his department’s Budget Vote in May, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said tax credits worth R20 billion are being earmarked for the establishment of the NHI Fund.

The NHI is being implemented in phases over a 14-year period, which started in 2012. It is being established through the creation of the single fund that will buy services on behalf of the entire population. Funding for the NHI will be through a combination of various mandatory pre-payment sources, primarily based on general taxes.

Revised Human Resource Development Strategy

Cabinet has also approved the Revised Human Resource Development Strategy towards 2030.

The revised strategy addresses the weaknesses identified in the last five years in some parts of the education and training system, and the lack of coordination between the different arms of the system.

“The strategy is now aligned to the NDP and the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019. It also focuses all the relevant stakeholders (government, labour, civil organisations and private sectors) on the needs of the economy and the importance of supporting an industrial strategy to achieve inclusive growth and development,” Cabinet said.

Funding for Scientific and Technological activities

Cabinet has further approved the publication of the key findings of the 2015/16 survey on government funding for Scientific and Technological Activities.

The 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology requires that the Department of Science and Technology monitor government funding of the science and technology sectors, and its contribution to South Africa’s growth and development.

The results of the findings of 30 national departments indicate that an estimated R23.4 billion was spent from the national fiscus in the 2015/16 financial year.

Cabinet noted the nominal increase of 6.6%, compared with the previous year given the current fiscal constraints.

“This total investment represents 1.7% of the total national budget for the year. Cabinet appreciated the fact that most of these funds were used in scientific services that support service delivery in core areas of government competency such as education, health, minerals, energy, agriculture and environment.”

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