The African National Congress (ANC) wants the current tax rebates to individuals on medical aids to be scrapped and the money used to fund the National Health Insurance (NHI).
This is one of the key proposals of the ANC policy conference that ended last Wednesday at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.
It is estimated that R22-billion is paid back to tax payers every year, but Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi wants that money to be redirected and used as money for the NHI.
The proposal is also contained in the white paper on NHI published earlier this month. The NHI would be compulsory and could be considered as a replacement for medical aids.
“This is not an additional tax, it is money we can claim back while we remain beneficiaries of medical aid schemes that our employers support us with,” explained ANC NEC chairperson of the committee on health and education Naledi Pando, in a report back on the resolutions taken during the recent ANC policy conference.
Pandor said that the party wants to ensure that the legislative framework on the NHI will be finalised by 2019 when the current term comes to an end.
“We would not be able to define the kind of package anticipated for NHI, if we don’t look at available means of providing support to its implementation,” she said.
Free tertiary education
Meanwhile, on education, the party adopted the ANC Youth League proposal that free tertiary education be implemented by 2018.
“Dates we had proposed were not accepted and were brought forward. We have to move fairly speedily as Sasco and the (ANC) Youth League want it implemented for the 2018 academic year. They are impatient for action and want decisive steps for free higher education for the poor,” Pandor said.
However, the party is yet to define who would qualify as a beneficiary.
Pandor said they would wait for the Heher Commission outcomes to guide policy. The commission, chaired by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Jonathan Heher, investigated the feasibility of the state providing free tertiary education. It was established by President Jacob Zuma following #Feesmustfall protests across the country’s tertiary institutions.
The current system by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme gives deserving students loans to be repaid later.