Monday, June 08, 2009

Will your taxes pay for healthcare you may not use?

The ANC is very secretive concerning a report on a newly proposed National Health Insurance (NHI). The report has not been made public yet. The question is, what is the big deal about the NHI?

When the idea of the NHI came to light some years ago, there was a lot of speculation concerning how it will work. So far, it seems an additional R100bn will be needed annually in the national budget to run this monster.

Will the NHI be added as an additional health tax to pay for the health care of the poor? Of course, the question that follows on this is, Who will benefit from the NHI? Is this going to be a case of the "rich" having to pay for something they will not be able to make use of?

Of course, if the ANC wants the "rich" to pay for something they cannot benefit from, it can clearly be classified as stealing from the "rich" to give to the poor. This would be extortion if it becomes a reality.

Health economist Alex van den Heever, revealed that the funding of the NHI would come from both those already belonging to medical aid schemes and those not. Van den Heever told the Hospital Association of SA's conference in Durban recently that members of medical schemes will pay 85% of their contribution to the NHI which would pay both public and private sector providers. Those without medical schemes will have to pay 5% of their income to the NHI.

Now here is the kicker, if Van den Heever is right, medical schemes will not be able to cover benefits that are covered by the NHI!

As a member of a medical scheme, would the 15% remaining of my usual contribution to my medical scheme, cover benefits that are worth being covered? Is the government orchestrated, socialistic NHI going to cover anything significant? If that is not the case, how will it impact the benefits I get from my medical scheme?

Am I going to lose significant benefits because my 15% contribution to my medical scheme simply cannot pay for those benefits? Will the government health scheme really pick up the slack on those benefits, or are we going to sit with a huge gap in benefits that cannot be covered because the government has thought up another lame entitlement scheme that one group of people must pay for so that the other group could reap the benefits?

Apart from benefits lost, what about all the jobs that will be lost because of this hare-brained idea? Medical schemes currently must make use of 100% of contributions for medical issues and salaries for staff. How will they accomplish this now with only 15% of those contributions? Sure, they will cover less benefits, but that means that less people can accomplish the job too.

The problem with this government is that it has created an environment of entitlement in the masses. Whatever one group has, the other group is entitled to that. This is an unhealthy environment. This will recreate Zimbabwe right here in South Africa where one group can take from another group simply because they have this false "right" to it.

How much of the NHI budget costs will pay for sicknesses and diseases that will come from behaviour that individuals have chosen? These would be health costs related to obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, STDs, HIV/AIDS, etc. Would it be right for one person to pay for another person's indiscretions? I think not!

Personally, I do not think that the ANC has thought this through. Of course, that would be a whole new experience for this country!

But, then again, tax those with money enough and they will take their money and expertise elsewhere!

Also read:
Concern over govt health scheme
Rights, responsibilities and health care

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