Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Rising Cost of Halthcare Part 5

This is part of a series about the Rising Cost of Healthcare
Part 1 - Cost versus Standards
Part 2 - Measuring standards
Part 3 - Improving delivery
Part 4 - The PHFCS
Part 5 - Conclusion

National Healthcare Financing and Cost of Healthcare

There are those who advocate a "National Healthcare Financing" as a means to provide and control the cost of healthcare. In considering how to proceed with the future National Healthcare Financing, it is important to remember that we had and have a good system today. For the poor and those who cannot afford private care, the social responsibility must be with the government. For those who can afford they should be allowed to seek the best that their money can buy be it in Malaysia, public or the private sector, or for that matter, anywhere in the world.

Will the NHF control cost? We doubt so. Will the NHF improve both private and public healthcare delivery? We hope so.

To get the best there will always be a cost attached. It is always a zero-sum game, less cost less quality, more cost more quality. Hence the public should be made aware that healthcare cost will increase over the years but this rise should be equated with better healthcare delivery and outcomes.


The doctor-patient engagement has always been one of a social contract enforced by the Rules of Medical Ethics. The introduction of the new law (PHCFS Act 1998) has injected a prominent element of business into this relationship. This, together with the commercialization of medical education will see a new mindset in private healthcare in the future. Indeed it is now close to one million Ringgit for parents to send a child to study medicine. The generation of the “million dollar doctor” is already with us. Thus, if the medical education and the subsequent practice of medicine is allowed to develop as a business, it will be quite clear what the future landscape will be like. How much is medicine, and how much is business?

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