SECTION27, who we co-published The National Health Act with, has just released a fact sheet on the Competition Commission’s inquiry into the Private Health Care Sector. The inquiry began in January of this year, as a result of the Commission’s growing concern over high prices in private health care in South Africa. The Commission will investigate the general state of competition in this sector to determine what can be done to achieve accessible, affordable, high quality and advanced private health care in South Africa.
According to section 27 of the South African Constitution, everyone has the right to have access to health care services. The government’s duty to protect and promote the right to health is not limited to the public sector, but applies in the private sector as well.
SOME OF THE OBJECTIVES OF THE INQUIRY ARE TO:
1. Find out how prices are determined within the sector, for example, how a doctor decides on the amount to charge a patient for services that were provided.
2. Assess the impact of the Commission’s previous interventions and the impact on prices, such as the Commissions 2004 decision prohibiting the Board of Health care Funders and South African Medical Association from setting tariffs by collective bargaining.
3. Determine what factors have led to the increases in private health care prices and expenditure.
4. Evaluate how patients access information about health care services and exercise choices about their health.
5. Assess how existing laws and practices impact on access to health and identify any gaps that might exist.
Concerned about the escalating fees in medical aids rates and services? Read the full fact sheet.
SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Their activities include research, advocacy and legal action to change the socio-economic conditions that undermine human dignity and development, prevent poor people from reaching their full potential and lead to the spread of diseases that have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalised people.
The National Health Act: A Guide by Jonathan Berger, Adila Hassim, Mark Heywood, Brian Honermann, Mieke Krynauw, Umunyana Rugege