Comment is sought by 30 September on a SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC) discussion document emerging from a review of all legislation administered by the Department of Health.
According to a Legalbrief Policy Watch report, it includes recommendations for amendments to the Medical Schemes Act outside the mandate of the review, with the aim of ‘reducing inequality in access to health care’. Against that backdrop, the establishment of a risk equalisation fund is mooted to facilitate access to medical schemes and – by implication – to health care services in general. Other proposed amendments focus on auditing and business rescue. Concerns about the delay in operationalising the amended definition of ‘business of a medical scheme’ were addressed in April – possibly after the document was finalised.
The report says other pieces of post-1994 legislation requiring attention include the 2003 National Health Act and the 1996 Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act. Noting that provisions in the 2013 National Health Amendment Act dealing with the board of the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) and various operational matters have been effective since September 2013, the document asks why sections 77 to 79 – formally establishing the OHSC and prescribing its functions – have yet to be promulgated. And, the report says, turning to the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act, the document seeks to clarify the role of a registered midwife in decisions around terminating a pregnancy after the 20th week of the gestation period.Legalbrief Policy Watch report