The Portfolio Committee on Health has extended the deadline for written submission on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill from 11 October to 29 November. Announcing the extension this morning, Committee chair, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said this followed a number of requests from stakeholders and individuals. These include the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

In its request for an extension, the HSF listed a number of concerns about the NHI Bill that was submitted to Parliament in August. These include a lack of clarity on the phases of implementation, the costs of implementation, as well as questions about the constitutionality of the Bill.

The Foundation suggested an extension to the end of January next year or until at least 6 December.

OUTA argued that the Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation to be tabled in Parliament in recent years and that the profound impact it will have on the health system requires that public participation be as exhaustive as possible. OUTA suggested that a 90-day comment period be considered to ensure that the process is not rushed and that stakeholders are given the time to develop solid, well-researched written input.

Announcing the deadline extension, Dr Dhlomo said it will not affect the start of the public hearings that are scheduled to begin on 25 October in Mpumalanga.

Written submissions must be sent to Vuyokazi Majalamba  at vmajalamba@parliament.gov.za or
faxed to 086 694 3279 by 29 November.