Health and Medical Professional Issues in Malaysia
Saturday, March 10, 2012
TMI: PKR moots Health Service Commission instead of 1 Care .... By Clara Chooi
PKR moots Health Service Commission instead of 1 Care
By Clara Chooi
February 22, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — PKR pledged today to look into forming a Health Service Commission in place of Putrajaya’s controversial 1 Care plan should it come to power, saying the body would help ensure healthcare services here remain sustainable and affordable to all.
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also suggested that instead of taxing Malaysians for the growing price of healthcare, the government should increase its healthcare expenditure.
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also suggested that the government increase its healthcare expenditure rather than tax Malaysians to cover escalating costs. — file pic
“Pakatan Rakyat, as underlined in our Buku Jingga, is committed to protecting healthcare as a right for all Malaysians.
“We believe that rather than implementing this new 1 Care proposal, the government should increase the percentage of government expenditure for health over a span of a few years to leverage on the good basic health infrastructure available in the country,” she said in a statement here.
Dr Wan Azizah, who served as a government doctor for 14 years before she turned to activism and politics, pointed out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that government expenditure for a country’s healthcare bill should be between five and six per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2008, she explained, Malaysia’s total healthcare expenditure was 4.8 per cent but government expenditure was a mere 2.2 per cent.
She added that in 2004, private health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP overtook government health expenditure for the first time.
“The 2010 World Health Report on Health Systems Financing by WHO clearly states that 20 to 40 per cent of health expenditure is wasted due to inefficiency,” she said.
Dr Wan Azizah, however, admitted there were weaknesses in the country’s current healthcare system but said Putrajaya was “mistaken” to think that introducing a new tax on Malaysians through 1 Care would be the solution.
Under 1 Care, it is rumoured that it will be compulsory for all wage earners to contribute a whopping 10 per cent of their monthly incomes to finance a new healthcare insurance scheme led by the government.
“At present, Malaysians are stuck in the middle income trap of low wages and rising costs. This situation will be further exacerbated when the government introduces a goods and services tax soon.
“Combine this with the endemic corruption and leakages that plague government expenditure (including health) it should not surprise the government if the rakyat rise up in anger at the 1 Care proposal,” Dr Wan Azizah said.
In view of this, the PKR president demanded that the government keeps the public informed of the progress of its implementation of the controversial 1 Care plan.
“There have been conflicting answers that do not increase the confidence of stakeholders in a major shake-up of the nation’s healthcare system,” she said.