The public health sector is constantly at pains to provide adequate basic healthcare in many areas of South Africa.1 However, despite the difficulties faced by the state in this regard and the sharp criticism levelled at it for its failure to ensure a high standard of basic public healthcare, the state has taken it upon itself to draft legislation, in the form of the National Health Amendment Bill 2008 (the Bill),2 enabling it to regulate the pricing of private healthcare. Has the long arm of the law perhaps stretched too far by attempting to regulate the private healthcare industry? Are these measures reasonable in the state’s ongoing battle for progressive realisation of the right to healthcare?

The author endeavours to answer these questions, as well as suggest possible alternatives to achieve what the Bill sets out to do. The purpose of this article is, however, not to examine the nature and extent of any possible infringements the Bill may bring about with regard to the right to access to healthcare expressly, but to examine the Bill against the pretext of governmental policy in promoting or realising this right.

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