Scrap 1Care, don't breed cronies, PM urged
The proposed 1Care health financing proposal should be scrapped and replaced with efforts to revamp the provision of public healthcare to prevent allocation leakages, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today.
Malaysians are too familiar with past and current efforts of the BN government to introduce "market mechanisms and pseudo privatisation schemes where profits are gained by well-connected cronies, but losses are socialised at the expense of average taxpayers", Lim said
"Based on what the health minister has and has not said, the people are reassured that this 1Care scheme is nothing more than a smokescreen to extract economic rent and benefit political cronies," the Penang chief minister added in a statement today.
Lim said 1Care could not serve the public good healthcare as it did not address the issue of over-concentration of health professionals in the private sector.
"Why are 70 percent of the healthcare professionals serving in the private sector, where they treat only 30 percent of the population?
"Leaving the remaining 30 percent of healthcare professionals to serve 70 percent of the population is a gross mismatch of resources and guarantees the continued decline of quality public healthcare services," Lim said.
The government's excuse of not having sufficient funding to sustain the current healthcare system for a long term is not acceptable, he said, as government's spending on the area has stagnated.
Healthcare funding stagnant since 2001
"It remained relatively stagnant at 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent of the GDP since 2001. This is less than half the 5-6 percent of GDP recommended by the World Health Organisation," he pointed out.
Lim urged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to scrap the 1Care for 1 Malaysia proposal.
This, he said, would ensure that the public good of healthcare services are not exploited "so that the losses are socialised, whereas the profits are privatised".
After that, he said, a thorough public consultation process involving key stakeholders should commence in a transparent manner for the benefit of the 28 million Malaysians.
Lim also called on Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai to address the very valid concerns raised by various quarters, including:
- Why should this scheme be forced upon all Malaysians by making it compulsory?;
- How much will this scheme cost the individual, the organisation he or she works for and the state and federal governments?;
- How much will this scheme add to the federal debt, which will exceed 55 percent of the debt-to-GDP ratio in the very near future?;
- Whether general practitioners will be assigned to every individual, instead of allowing the individual to choose;
- Whether the number of hospital visits will be limited; and
- Whether a National Healthcare Financing Authority (NHFA) will be set up to collect these insurance premiums.