Scrap 1Care, govt told yet again

(Harakah Daily) – Saying the Health minister has failed to study the consequences of the soon-to-be-implemented controversial compulsory health insurance scheme, or 1Care, DAP secretary general called on prime minister Najib Razak to immediately scrap the plan to stop losses being distributed to the public.

“The provision of public health care in Malaysia need not be completely overhauled but merely revamped to improve it towards excellence,” said Lim Guan Eng, who is also Penang chief minister.

Lim dismissed the claim of a lack of funding as the main reason behind 1Care, and cited how there had been no increase in government spending on health, which remained stagnant at 2.1 to 2.5 percent of country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2001.

“This is less than half the 5-6 percent of GDP recommended by the World Health Organisation,” he said.

Taking to task Health minister Liow Tiong Lai for attacking critics of the 1Care scheme, Lim said Liow should instead address the concerns raised by various quarters, including an explanation on why the scheme must be made compulsory for all Malaysians.

“How much will this scheme add to the federal debt, which will exceed 55 percent of the debt to GDP ratio in a very near future? Whether General Practitioners will be assigned to every individual instead of allowing the individual to choose?” Lim cited some of the concerns.

He also raised concerns on whether number of visits to the hospital would be capped and whether a National Healthcare Financing Authority (NHFA) would be formed to collect insurance premiums.

Low Tiong LaiLiow (right) was also ticked off for claiming that the 1Care plan was only at “discussion” level, although it was reported that the plan was set to be implemented.

“These kinds of contradictory statements only add further fuel to the fire that the minister himself does not have full control over this process,” he added.

Lim questioned the viability of 1Care when at present, 70 percent of health professionals were serving in the private sector to treat only 30 percent of the population.

“Leaving the remaining 30% of health professionals to serve 70% of the population is not just a gross mismatch of resources but also guarantees a continued decline of quality public healthcare services.

“1Care for 1Malaysia should be rejected for failing these tests. Instead, the Health Ministry should start from scratch by having a transparent and inclusive stakeholder consultation process and put in place iron clad safeguards to ensure that public healthcare remains a public good that is affordable to all, especially those in the lower income bracket,” he added.