SACP’s response to medicine price hike
By Anele Siwa
07 January 2008
The South African Communist Party (SACP) has expressed outrage at the plans of some of the big private hospital groups, including the National Hospital Network and Netcare, to increase fees by as much as up to 33% as from this year.
"The private health care sector is already consuming a much bigger slice of our health resources and is also making huge profits for itself at the direct expense of the majority of the people of our country," says SACP spokesperson Maselela Maleka.
According to Maleka it is the SACP’s strongest belief that access to health care is a universal basic human right that should not be turned into a commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace.
"It is also our strongest belief that to allow market forces to run rampant in our health care system poses the biggest threat in dealing with, for instance, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a range of other diseases afflicting the overwhelming majority of our people," says Maleka.
Maleka says the SACP is calling upon government to speed up the establishment of a National Health Insurance Scheme, which should also include the creation of a framework for affordable access by the overwhelming majority of people to both public and private health care institutions.
According to Maleka the SACP is currently waging a Red October Campaign aimed at the creation of an affordable health care system in country.
Meanwhile, the Council of Medical Schemes has welcomed Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's appeal to private hospital groups not to increase their health care prices.
The Council's Steven Harrison says they are encouraged by the position taken by the health department and share their concerns.
He added that should the proposed increases go ahead, medical aid would not be affordable to ordinary South Africans and that medical costs have increased about 60 percent above inflation between 2000 and 2006.