Martin Young –
Discovery is making a killing in South African healthcare.
Well-trained health professionals are a valuable asset to any country. Current negative practices by medical administrators like designated service provider contracts, punitive payment arrangements to doctors not on contracts, and inadequate fees for services have created an untenable situation in which patients and their health providers suffer. In spite of this Discovery announced ‘staggering’ results for 2013, showing inappropriate profits in an environment where medical insurance costs are rising and benefits are shrinking. We call on the Minister of Health to limit these excessive profits being earned at the expense of patients and the medical practitioners who look after them. We ask that a Commission of Enquiry take a serious look at the business practices and coercive tactics used by Discovery that are hurting medical professionals and patients in South Africa.
Why this is important
The South African healthcare industry’s biggest business successes lie in the medical insurers and administrators like Discovery Health who take substantial profits from medical funds at the expense of their own members and of professionals who provide quality health services.
Discovery Health takes as much for administration from patient contributions as it pays out to every consulting doctor in the country combined, with the latter requiring 8 – 10 times the work force and infrastructure.
This profit taking and crass commercialism at patients’ expense has to stop before there are no doctors and other health practitioners left in viable and ethical medical practices in South Africa.