Development and application of benchmarks for budgeting of non-negotiable goods and services for provincial departments of health.
South Africa’s health system is undergoing a muchneeded strategic review. Both the public and the private sectors are affected. And the role of regulators remains crucial in this changing environment. The Council for Medical Schemes continued to execute its mandate in the financial year under review. By guiding the medical schemes industry into unprecedented stability and performance, Council continued to support e¥orts aimed at strengthening the entire health system of the country.
There is widespread consensus that providing universal, sustainable, affordable and quality health services underpins efforts to achieve equitable health outcomes. UNICEF in 2010-2011 conducted a two-phase landscape analysis, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to investigate how health insurance and other social health protection mechanisms contribute to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). The work built on previous research examining the protection from impoverishment that health insurance provides to vulnerable groups, the potential for increasing and expanding insurance coverage, and the options for and constraints limiting the use of insurance to attain UHC.
The use of ‘co-payments’ to deal with possible ‘over-utilisation’ of health care services is a key point of contention in policy debates related to South Africa’s National Health Insurance proposals.
Over-utilisation occurs when health care provision (in instances when it is free at the point of service), leads to inappropriate and excessive utilisation. Co-payments mean users still receive health services that are heavily subsidised (from public funds in the case of the proposed NHI), but have to pay something towards the cost of services – this aims to curb the frivolous use of services and avoid over-utilisation.
The focus of the National Health Insurance Conference, themed “Lessons for South Africa”, was to create a national consultative health forum as a platform for South Africans to engage with local and international experts in the areas of health financing and health systems reforms and how these have been undertaken in other contexts to ensure that universal coverage to quality health services is achieved for the entire national population. The Conference was organised as part of the Department’s strategy to consult as many stakeholders as is possible on the contents of the Green Paper on National Health Insurance (NHI) which was published in Gazette Number 34523 on 12th August 2011 to initiate a process of eliciting comments from the public.
THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HOSTS A CONFERENCE THEMED “NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE: LESSONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA”