(Picture courtesy of flickr.com.)
The nation of South Africa took a huge step toward equal access to opportunity for its citizens today by beginning national health care. While this nation cuts back services to the needy, the rest of the world advances beyond us into behavior that makes all people better off.
South Africa’s government has set out its plans to introduce a universal health care scheme.
A pilot scheme in 10 areas is to start in April 2012, and will then be phased in nationally over the next 14 years.
“These first steps towards establishing national health insurance are truly historic,” the health minister said.
Analysts say South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal societies, where quality health care is skewed towards the private sector.
Last year, the governing African National Congress (ANC) estimated initial costs to set up the scheme would be about 128bn rand ($18bn; £11bn).
“The central challenge to the stability and well-being of our nation is reducing the deep inequality between rich and poor, between privilege and deprivation. This goes to the heart of South Africa’s future,” Mr Motsoaledi said.
South Africa is one of the nations of most inequitable distribution of its resources, and is struggling back from decades of colonial rule that left out its native population.
With this mammoth step toward civilized behavior, SA becomes another better country to live in. Hopefully, one day the United States will catch up. At the moment, though, we are falling farther behind.
The Affordable Care Act specified the distribution of an additional $11 billion over the next five years that would allow CHCs to nearly double their current capacity to 40 million patients by 2015. The FY 2011 discretionary funding reduction, however, cut the program’s funding by $600 million.
Our country became substandard by yet one more nation when SA took this impressive stride forward. Presently the U.S. is 37th in ranking for health care among nations. South Africa stands at 175th. This will set it forward, and the U.S. farther back.