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Parliament - The National Health Insurance (NHI) bill will soon be sent to Parliament for consideration, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

The bill, served before cabinet in December last year following extensive public consideration but was not approved. Rapport newspaper reported that according to a leaked letter government wanted to ban medical aids to “eliminate the fragmentation of health care funding”.

While not elaborating on the content of the bill, Ramphosa said: "This year, we will take a significant step towards universal access to quality health care for all South Africans."

The bill is government's response to calls for universal quality healthcare for all South Africans regardless of income.

"The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities," Ramaphosa said.

"By applying the principle of social solidarity and cross-subsidisation, we aim to reduce inequality in access to health care."

African News Agency/ANA