OUTA’s request for extended NHI deadline granted
On 8 August 2019, the NHI Bill was tabled in parliament, following this on 30 August 2019, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Health announced the period for written public comments on the bill would expire on 11 October 2019.
OUTA wrote to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to ask for an extension of the deadline, given the complexity of the Bill and the profound impact it would have on South Africans lives. OUTA believed that society required more time to develop solid, well researched and coordinated written input.
On 1 October 2019, OUTA received notification that the date for public submissions on the NHI Bill has been extended to 29 November 2019.
In his letter to the committee, OUTA’s executive director for the National Division, Dr Heinrich Volmink, stressed the importance of public participation on a bill of this magnitude and technical nature. “As OUTA, we believe that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is essential for the realisation of Section 27 of our Constitution. Moreover, UHC is a key objective of Sustainable Development Goal 3, and our country is in an important position to help provide significant progress in this direction.”
Volmink welcomed the extension, and says it is imperative that Parliament allows for as much public participation as reasonably possible. “A 90-day period would allow for civil society organisations such as ourselves to provide submissions that are of sufficient depth and quality. This, in turn, can serve to enhance the participation process.”
OUTA intends making a written submission on the NHI and has called on supporters to send us comments for our input.
The progress of the NHI Bill can be tracked through the Parliamentary Monitoring Group here.