National Health Insurance (NHI) is part of an innovative system of healthcare financing that seeks to transform the South African healthcare system. By seeking to provide access to quality and affordable healthcare services for all South Africans based on their health needs irrespective of their socio-economic status.

As NHI emphasis is on the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases.

The government green paper was released in August 2011. And it proposed that the NHI would be implemented in over a period of 14 years. This will entail major changes in the service delivery structures, administrative and management systems. Pilot districts were established in all nine provinces.

The cost of implementing the NHI is projected to R225 billion by 2025. SA’s economy is under increasing pressure, and how the government proposes to fund the NHI is a topic of interest for all South Africans. Possibilities of raising these funds, according to reports include a pay roll levy for all employed South Africans, and increase in VAT, or an income tax surcharge on already overburdened taxpayers.

The policy in theory looks good on paper for a renewed emphasis on equity and social justice in health care in South Africa. And the proposal for the policy is very ambitious, which the real challenge will be in its implementation.