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South Africa’s President Will Sign Health Insurance Bill Into Law *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 16, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , ,

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday that he planned to sign into law a National Health Insurance (NHI) bill that aims to provide universal health coverage to South Africans, although he did not give a time frame.

The bill, which will be implemented in stages at a cost of billions of dollars, is waiting for Ramaphosa’s approval after it was passed by lawmakers last year.

“It is a matter of time,” he told journalists in Cape Town, without providing further details.

The law aims to provide healthcare to millions of poorer citizens in a major overhaul of a two-tier system, which still reflects deep racial and social inequalities three decades after the end of white minority rule.

It has been strongly opposed by business groups which say it will lead to disinvestment in the healthcare sector and damage South Africa’s already fragile economy.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Business for South Africa (B4SA) said earlier this month that they supported moving towards universal health coverage but had reservations about the bill’s “design and implementation,” calling for it to be sent back to parliament for amendments.

The bill is popular among voters as South Africa heads into a competitive election year, but concrete changes are unlikely to come soon even once it is signed, analysts say.

“It will get bogged down in court for years,” said Louw Nel, senior political analyst at Oxford Economics Africa.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; additional reporting and writing by Nellie Peyton; editing by Alexander Winning, William Maclean)

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