Panel #2: Financing Healthcare

Towards a sustainable healthcare economy- Universal Health Coverage or Privatisation of Healthcare?

While a career in medicine can provide us a means for financial stability, we are not in the business of healing to enrich ourselves with monetary gains. Nonetheless, health economics and healthcare financing remains a significant issue in many healthcare systems, and the Malaysian healthcare landscape is not alien to this.

This panel session will explore the two contrasting health economics principles, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and privatization of healthcare. Malaysia can boast about achieving UHC as the healthcare sector provides comprehensive medical care at minimal fees to the rakyat. These are funded via taxation and allocated by the Finance Ministry to the Ministry of Health. In the 1980s, there was a paradigm shift to place greater emphasis on privatization of healthcare, the driving force being to reduce the financial burden on the government. [1]

However, it cannot be denied that there are significant discrepancies between the public and private healthcare sectors in Malaysia. A general perception is that public healthcare is of an inferior standard to private healthcare. There has also been increasing discourse and interest in greater private-public collaboration. Our table of panelists consist of experts in health economics, Chief Executive Officers of the private healthcare sector and leaders of health economics working in the Ministry of Health.

As such, this topic will not be able to elude a discourse on the subject of the national health insurance scheme. This is a suggestion for a single-payer, multiple-provider system which would lead to an efficient and cost-effective healthcare delivery. [2] One year ago, a voluntary health insurance scheme was proposed by Dr S Subramaniam, the former Health Minister, to enable the sustainability of our healthcare system. Just last week, YB Dr Lee Boon Chye, the current Deputy Health Minister, announced that a national health insurance scheme will be taking place over the coming years, which the government claims will be able to financially aid the B40 group to access healthcare services. However, there remains to be a dearth of public awareness and information on this. [3]

 

References

  1. CW Ng et al. (2014). Universal health coverage in Malaysia: issues and challenges. Retrive at http://familyrepository.lppkn.gov.my/399/4/Universal_health_coverage_in_Malaysia_-_Full_Paper.pdf
  2. AM Khalib. (2018). Healthcare does not cost RM1. The Star. Retrieved at https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2017/08/09/healthcare-does-not-cost-rm1/
  3. Augustin R. (2018). More questions about B40 insurance. Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved at http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/09/more-questions-about-b40-health-insurance/