Is National Health Insurance a viable option for South Africa? Experiences from other countries
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The concept of National Health Insurance (NHI) has been borne out of growing global support for universal health coverage (UHC). The South African government has been flirting with the idea of introducing an NHI scheme in a bid to narrow the yawning gap between the public and private healthcare sectors, and to extend healthcare services to the poor. This paper examines the NHI schemes in four countries - Canada, Taiwan, Ghana and Brazil - with a view to determining whether National Health Insurance (NHI) is a viable option for South Africa. Among the key findings are that an NHI scheme is very costly to implement and manage - which adds to the challenges South Africa faces in bringing about much-needed healthcare reform.