Medical Schemes Amendment Bill in the Pipeline

Department of Health

The Draft Medical Schemes Amendment Bill is on track.

During his department’s budget vote speech in parliament, the health minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced that the proposed legislation will be placed before cabinet for approval soon.

The Draft National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill is also in the pipeline to be tabled before cabinet.

Once approval is obtained, both draft bills will be released for comment.

The minister declared that an initial NHI piloting project will involve the screening of school-going children throughout South Africa for physical barriers to learning. The barriers under consideration include eyesight, hearing, oral hygiene as well as speech.

A key component of the envisaged NHI is to create a synergy between the public and private health sectors.

“The essence of NHI is to make sure that both the public health facilities and skills, and the private sector facilities and skills are available to all the citizens of our country. This is what we are starting to implement in these NHI projects.”

Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on health recently rejected the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill.

The private member’s bill was tabled in parliament in December 2017.

Parliament called for comment on the bill in July 2017.

The bill was drawn up by Cheryllyn Dudley, an African Christian Democratic Party member of parliament.

The proposed legislation sought to delete certain circumstances in which a pregnancy may be terminated and to ensure that a pregnant woman has access to ultrasound examinations and sufficient mandatory counselling to enable her to make a fully informed choice regarding the termination of her pregnancy.

Prohibitive costs and further barriers to accessing termination of pregnancy services were some of the reason put forward for rejecting the bill.

Sabinet Cape Town Office