Six good reasons to fight National Health Insurance

Tariq Khan | Sep 11, 2021
National Health Insurance (NHI) will reduce everyone’s freedom and sharply curtail their healthcare choices. Here are six reasons for rejecting a measure that would destroy our health system and our freedom to make our own healthcare decisions.

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Six good reasons to fight National Health Insurance

All South Africans should be concerned at the government’s plans to pass the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which will effectively nationalise the healthcare system, placing every hospital and clinic in the country under state control. This would be detrimental to South Africa, as it would see the country morphing into a communist state. NHI will reduce everyone’s freedom and sharply curtail their healthcare choices. Here are six reasons to join the Freedom Advocacy Network in rejecting a measure that would destroy our health system and our freedom to make our own healthcare decisions.

  1. NHI will give the government control over every hospital and clinic in South Africa.

Under this bill, you won’t be able to choose between a private or public hospital. All these institutions will be controlled by the government. This means that government incompetence will spread to every corner of the healthcare system. 

  1. The bill provides for a central fund to supposedly cover healthcare costs, but which will be exposed to abuse by corrupt politicians.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had access to billions of Rands to help the country meet the challenges of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of it all, ANC cronies managed to steal millions. Creating another central fund will merely give the political elite another opportunity for more corruption.

  1. South Africa will lose doctors and nurses, as healthcare professionals emigrate to other countries.

Instead of remaining in South Africa to face the consequences of this destructive law, most professionals are likely to emigrate to other countries whose governments are not hell-bent on seizing control of their healthcare systems. This means that South Africa will lose professionals whose expertise could help to build our country.

  1. It puts the people in charge of Eskom in charge of your healthcare.

Every year South Africans experience load-shedding, which is a result of Eskom’s failures as a state-owned enterprise. If South Africa were to go forward with NHI, the lives and wellbeing of patients would be at risk, as hospitals would be mismanaged by the state.

  1. NHI will cost taxpayers billions of rands, leaving them with less to spend in their private lives.

Government documents show that in order to finance this unaffordable scheme, it would need to increase taxes by 4%, raise VAT, and add another payroll levy – or a combination of these taxes. This would be unfair to hard-working South Africans who rely on and deserve to keep their after-tax earnings. More taxes would reduce South Africans’ financial freedom.

  1. There are better policies than NHI that can provide people with the healthcare they need.

The South African Institute of Race Relations has conducted research on alternatives to nationalising healthcare, and handing the state more control over our private lives. One of those proposals would be to give healthcare vouchers directly to citizens. This policy provides them with the financial resources needed to choose their own healthcare providers.


National Health Insurance is a terrible idea; instead of making healthcare more accessible, it will  impose significant social and financial costs on South African society. Vulnerable patients in mismanaged hospitals would risk losing their lives, and everyone needing care would have scant hope of receiving proper treatment. Furthermore, the government would seize more money from citizens through taxes in order to keep the system intact. This would leave families with less to spend, limiting their economic freedom. Any policy that fails to enhance freedom is a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. This is why the Freedom Advocacy Network is opposed to National Health Insurance.


Cover image of a collapsed roof at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg in 2017. Source available here.

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