Health Care Reform in the US and in South Africa: Does New Policy Cure the Disease or Merely Alleviate the Symptoms?

"Both South Africa and the United States (US) have proposed and implemented extensive health care reform in their respective countries within the last two years. For the US, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was meant to overhaul the health insurance industry and change the focus of care to primary health services, in order to contain the astronomical costs associated with health care. For South Africa, 2012 marked the second major health care reform for the country since the abolishment of apartheid. The first of these reforms, in 1994, did not have the desired effect. This brief analyses the reasons for this failure and predicts whether the new reform will have greater success. Comparison of the socio-historical stage that each of the two countries is currently experiencing reveals that South Africa has unique burdens that must be overcome before real reform can take place. This paper makes general recommendations but ultimately aims to reveal important elements that may undermine the success of this new reform."