Doctors Without Borders submission on the National Health Insurance Bill, 2019

South Africa’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill aims to provide universal access to quality healthcare services for all living in South Africa. In August 2019, the draft NHI Bill was tabled before the South African parliament and is currently under consideration by the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Health. As part of the parliamentary process, the Portfolio Committee invited stakeholders to send written submissions on the Bill.

MSF’s main concerns with the proposed Bill are the exclusion of asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants from NHI. The draft Bill states that “an asylum seeker or illegal foreigner is only entitled to (a) emergency medical services; and services for notifiable conditions of public health concern” (Chapter 2: Access to health care services – Population coverage 4(2)) which would require them to pay foreigner rates for all other medical services.