The public will now have until September 15 to make written submissions on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.
The Select Committee on Health and Social Services extended the deadline after receiving requests for extension from stakeholders and individuals.
“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,” said committee chairperson Zoyisile Njadu.
The committee called for written submissions from the public on the Bill at the beginning of August with the initial closing date of September 1.
Njadu explained that the purpose of the Bill was to establish and maintain an NHI Fund funded through mandatory prepayment that aimed to achieve sustainable and affordable universal access to quality healthcare services.
He said the fund would operate on the basis of a single purchaser and single payer of healthcare services, by pooling funds and strategic purchasing of healthcare services and goods from accredited and contracted healthcare service providers.
“The NHI envisages a standardised healthcare system, wherein everyone, rich and poor, rural and urban, can receive the same level of quality healthcare,” he added.
Njadu noted that the NHI was a fund which government would use to 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,” he explained.
The NHI Bill is currently before the National Council of Provinces for concurrence after it was passed by the National Assembly in June this year.
Enquiries, as well as written submissions, can be directed to Ms M Williams, Select Committee on Health and Social Services, via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org