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South Africa’s opposition party to take legal action against bill aimed at providing universal health coverage

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South Africa’s primary opposition party, along with several labor and business organizations, has announced their intention to initiate legal proceedings against a bill designed to establish universal health coverage.

Previously, we reported that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was scheduled to sign the controversial proposal into law on Wednesday.

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The National Health Insurance (NHI) bill aims to grant all South Africans, regardless of race, wealth, or legal residency status, access to high-quality healthcare. Its implementation is estimated to require billions of dollars.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party stated that his party would contest the legislation “up to the Constitutional Court”.

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“Our legal team was instructed several months ago and will promptly file our legal challenge against this harmful legislation,” John Steenhuisen remarked.

Additionally, the trade union Solidariteit declared that it had notified Mr. Ramaphosa of its intention to challenge the bill “within an hour” of its signing on Wednesday.

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The South African Health Professionals Collaboration (SAHPC), representing 25,000 healthcare workers in both the public and private sectors, is reported by Reuters to be considering a legal challenge.

According to Reuters, the group expressed concerns that the bill would “retreat, rather than advance, equitable, high-quality healthcare in South Africa”.

Proponents of the bill view it as a transformative measure that will address long-standing disparities.

The South African Medical Association Trade Union, which represents most public sector doctors, called it “a monumental shift towards achieving universal health coverage and ensuring that every South African has access to quality healthcare irrespective of their socio-economic status”.

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