The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has declared a picket outside the Netcare head offices in Johannesburg, against increasing costs in the private healthcare industry, on Friday, 18 October, which will serve as part of their campaign supporting the National Health Insurance Bill. The South African reports that the union has pledged to fight for the appropriate regulation of healthcare charges so that all citizens can afford quality healthcare, as South Africans are exhausted from being “exploited for profits”.
Recently, the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry report was released, and it detailed key issues that have surfaced over the years in South Africa’s private healthcare industry, and the report proves lack of competition in the private sector as three major hospitals reign, namely: Netcare, LifeHealthcare and Mediclinic account for 90% of the private hospital market.
The report says the private healthcare sector remains unsupervised and has allowed hospitals to greatly benefit from “over-treatment”, and the ability to “all but dictate year-on-year price and cost increases” for medical aids and administrators.
Nehawu says: “This protest picket is the first in the series of a range of other actions that are in the pipeline, which we shall mount with other organisations to ensure that the prevalent profiteering in the private health industry is stopped. To the extent the private provider industry shall continue to operate under the NHI, we are determined that there is appropriate intervention by the authorities to ensure that there is an end to the oligopoly in the providers’ market.”The South African report