Today's Labour News

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healthcareBL Premium reports that according to research presented at the annual Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) conference this week, a succession of health ministers has deliberately promoted false claims about medical schemes to bolster the ANC government’s case for National Health Insurance (NHI).

These include assertions that the medical scheme industry is on the verge of collapse, that beneficiaries routinely run out of benefits midyear and are dumped on the state, and that most medical scheme members are white. The BHF is one of SA’s key industry associations for medical schemes and administrators, with members that collectively represent half of SA’s 9-million medical scheme beneficiaries. It commissioned independent research to counter the government’s “sensationalist and emotive” narrative about medical schemes. The analysis was conducted by Wits governance expert Alex van den Heever, who concluded: “There is a pattern to demonise the medical aid system, to make it look as if it is collapsing and could never form part of [universal health coverage] in the context of NHI.” While many of the statements were hyperbolic and not backed up by systematic research or evidence, they nevertheless carried weight because they were made by individuals in positions of power, he noted. Van den Heever identified 11 sets of frequently repeated claims that he concluded were unsubstantiated and untrue. The claim that most medical scheme members were white was wrong, he pointed out, as Stats SA data showed that 50.2% of medical scheme beneficiaries were black African and 32.3% were white. Similarly, claims that medical scheme members frequently ran out of benefits midyear and were “dumped” on the state were false.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


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