FINANCE: Questions Around Health Plan
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BUSINESS is concerned about the high cost of a National Health Insurance plan, but is equally concerned about the management skills that will be required to make a success of the plan, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
“Simply finding more money for healthcare will not be enough to create a health service that is efficient and delivers results,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber. “The foundation of the service must be clean, well run hospitals and unless we can provide them, the plan is unlikely to succeed.”
He said creating a national healthcare plan was a huge challenge and a great deal more information was required before the Chamber could make detailed comment. However, it was clear that modern medicine depended on expensive technology and, as people lived longer, they would require more treatment and drugs during lengthening years of retirement. The costs would continue to rise and so would the burden on business and the taxpayers.
“Employers will have to find a lot of the money and that is going to increase their costs and make them reluctant to increase staff. It is going to make it more expensive to create new jobs and that is a negative,” Mr Bagraim said.
He was concerned that the Government was planning a service that would prove to be too expensive for the country’s narrow tax base.
Nevertheless major improvements in health care were essential and he was pleased that the Minister of Health had said improvements in the hospital service were a non-negotiable requirement.
“Perhaps the best way to ensure this is to insist that all members of the Government and the public service use the Provincial hospitals when they are ill and not private ones. This will give them first-hand experience of the conditions and it would be an inspiring example of leading from the front,” Mr Bagraim said.
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