The Helen Suzman
Foundation (HSF) has submitted a request to the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Health that the NHI Bill public comment deadline be extended to the
end of January 2020 due largely to the fact that certain documents relied upon
in drafting of the Bill, such as the Treasury Documents and Health Market
Inquiry report, have not yet been released.

“The NHI Bill
is far too important and complex to be addressed within this period,” HSF
director, Francis Antonie, has stressed in his request covering letter, adding
that the request for any extension should see these crucial documents be added
to the public participation process.

“We regard
the Bill as a framework Bill, lacking clarity concerning the various phases
with regard to implementation,” Antonie wrote when summarising the concerns
informing his organisation’s request for an extension.

Concerns
cited included costs of the NHI, constitutionality, “More haste, less speed”,
and as already indicated, the Bill being released before the final Health
Market Inquiry report.

“We suggest
an ideal date will be the end of January 2020. However,” Anotonie noted, “if
this is not practicable, we request that the extension be extended until at
least the end of the third term, i.e. 6 December.”

He concluded
by urging the Portfolio Committee take a decision and make an announcement by
the end of the second term of the parliamentary programme “so that all potential
commentators can plan their work accordingly”.

SOURCE: Helen
Suzman Foundation Press Release.