The Health October 2020 | Page 3

october , 2020 | The Health


| The Health says ... |

A health insurance scheme for all

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The Covid-19 pandemic
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• Countries should meet five criteria before easing lockdowns

We still see the devastating effects of the March 18 lockdown on the economy .

Many businesses have since shut , thousands have lost their jobs and thousands more incurred a pay cut . Those surviving are barely profitable , and it will not be surprising if they too eventually close shop .
The Malaysian economy is expected to shrink by more than five per cent this year . In short , almost every Malaysian ( unless you ’ re in rubber gloves ) will feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic .
Not surprisingly , there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking treatment at government healthcare facilities . Private facilities , especially hospitals , are too expensive for the unemployed and retirees .
But there is a limit to the capacity of public hospitals and clinics . Many are overflowing with patients , and it can be a long wait just to see a doctor , let alone collect your medication .
At this rate , we will soon see a shortage of doctors , beds and medicines . This will endanger the lives of more impoverished citizens .
Currently , taxpayers are being burdened through the heavy subsidising of public hospitals and clinics .
Thus , it is time we introduced a national health insurance scheme for ALL Malaysians . Such a plan has been long talked about – more than 20 years to be sure . There have been numerous seminars , meetings , conventions , dialogues and discussions over the years , but nothing has come of it .
The Pakatan Harapan government had introduced a national insurance scheme in 2018 , but it was for those in the B40 segment , with age restrictions and a limited payout sum .
We just can ’ t understand the great reluctance by governments in the past and present to want to introduce a national scheme for all . Wouldn ’ t it be fairer if all citizens are covered by health insurance and can seek treatment at a healthcare facility of their choice ?
Many countries , especially those in the West , have successfully implemented national insurance schemes . We can adopt good points and discard the bad .
The scheme should be operated by a not-for-profit government entity , not some Government-Linked Company ( GLC ) or private company . Any surplus in revenue must be ploughed back into the scheme for the benefit of citizens . Private hospitals and insurers can be co-opted to be part of the system .
So , let us just stop the excuses and get on with setting up the scheme !