Business Unity SA (Busa), which represents private companies and professional bodies, has had a “cordial and constructive” first meeting with the health department to discuss its plans for universal health coverage, it is quoted in Business Day as saying.
Busa has previously indicated that its concerns about NHI extended beyond investor sentiment as its members are directly and indirectly affected by any changes to the health system. Employers play a large role in their workers’ access to health care, as many of them subsidise their medical scheme contributions, or provide health services directly. And productivity is affected by the health of their workforce, whether it depends on public or private health-care providers.
However, Busa and the health department would not spell out what was discussed at the meeting.
“Both parties have agreed that as this process is related to health-care issues in general, in line with the compact, we would only release details to the media at the point where we have worked through issues and have mutual understanding or agreement on these,” said Busa board member Stavros Nicolaou, who is also head of strategic trade at local pharmaceutical manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare.
The Busa delegation includes Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg, Netcare head of strategy Melanie da Costa, Stephen Smith of the Association for Savings and Investment SA, the SA Private Practitioner’s Forum CEO Chris Archer, and Discovery executive director Ayanda Ntsaluba.
The Health Department’s team includes its deputy director-general for NHI Anban Pillay, NHI adviser Aquina Thulare, NHI consultant Nicholas Crisp, health minister Zweli Mkhize’s legal adviser Naheem Raheman, University of Cape Town professor John Ataguba and health economist Di McIntyre.Business Day report Busa statement