The select committee on health and social services has extended the submission deadline for public comment on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.
This after the committee received requests from stakeholders and individuals for the extension of the September 1 deadline for written submissions on the bill.
Committee chairperson Zoyisile Njadu said: “The decision to extend the deadline for the submissions was informed by the appeals that the committee has received from relevant stakeholders who play an important role in the delivery of healthcare services in the country.
“The new closing date that has been agreed upon is 15 Septembers 2023,” Njadu said.
The NHI bill, which is currently before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence, was passed by the National Assembly last month.
The ANC easily secured a majority of 205 votes that was cobbled from its 200 MPs, two votes from the Good party, and one each from the NFP, AIC and PAC when it was brought to the National Assembly.
Opposition parties that voted against the NHI garnered 125 votes with the DA securing 71, EFF 30, IFP 12, Freedom Front Plus eight, ACDP three and ATM one.
The bill aims to establish and maintain a NHI Fund through mandatory prepayment to achieve sustainable and affordable universal access to quality health care services.
Njadu said the NHI Fund would operate on the basis of single purchaser and single payer of health care services, by pooling funds and strategic purchasing of healthcare services and goods from accredited and contracted health care service providers.
He said the NHI envisaged a standardized healthcare system, wherein everyone, rich and poor, rural and urban, can receive the same level of quality healthcare.
“The NHI is a fund from which the government will buy healthcare services for South Africans from healthcare providers both in the public and private sectors.
“It is a fund to pay for healthcare, and all of us will contribute to this fund through taxes and special contributions in line with what we can afford.
“It will ensure that everyone is entitled to free healthcare when they need it, and there will be no fees charged at the facility because the fund will cover the costs of care,” Njadu said.