SolidarityOn Thursday, trade union Solidarity presented the findings of a comprehensive report compiled by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) into the estimated cost of introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

“According to our calculations, there will be a shortfall of approximately R112 billion in the budget when provision is made for the NHI. Our country simply cannot afford this. It is a well-known fact that South Africa’s state coffers have been plundered and are empty, and that most state institutions have been governed into bankruptcy. Borrowing additional money will be fatal for the country’s economy,” said Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann. According to Solidarity, the government’s projected deficit of R32 billion was unrealistic, while the deficit would in fact amount to roughly R112 billion. But, borrowing money to fund this deficit should not be considered because the country already owed billions of rands and could not afford more debt. Solidarity also cautioned that the deficit could not be supplemented by taxes because the SA taxpayer was already overburdened. In Solidarity’s view, South Africans would benefit more if the state reformed its current public health system by ensuring better returns on investment. In addition, the private sector should be permitted on a permanent basis to alleviate the burden of the public health system by continuing to provide services to those who could afford it. “Forcing the whole country to uniformly depend on the state is not the answer. The ANC impoverishes our health, condemns our economy and once again takes our freedom away from us,” Hermann argued.

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