He briefed the media in Pretoria on Thursday after the bill was gazetted. The bill seeks to establish the NHI Fund, a single public purchaser and financier of health services for the country.

Motsoaledi said the cost of private healthcare was out of the reach for many citizens.

According to the World Health Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, only 10% of South Africa’s population can afford what was currently being charged in private healthcare.

The NHI – a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality, affordable healthcare – is part of government’s major health sector reforms and was being rolled out over a 14-year period.

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Motsoaledi said they are now on the fifth year of the NHI implementation phase.

As part of the implementation, the bill intends to abolish co-payments.

“The amendment means that every cent charged to the patient must be settled fully by the scheme and the patient should not be burdened with having to pay,” Motsoaledi said.

The second amendment is to abolish the practice of using brokers within the medical-scheme environment.

Motsoaledi said almost two-thirds of principal members of medical aid schemes pay R90 a month to a broker as part of their premium.

He said the total amount paid to brokers in 2017 was R2,2 billion.

“We want this money to be made available to pay for direct health expenses of members, rather than serving brokers who are actually not needed in the healthcare system.”

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Other amendments that will affect consumer pockets include the introduction of an income cross-subsidisation model.

“The rich must subsidise the poor, the young must subsidise the old and the healthy must subsidise the sick,” Motsoaledi said.

– African News Agency