Monday, April 19, 2010


I have always felt that healthcare is a social responsibility, to be undertaken by the government. There are many hints lately that the government can no longer pay for comprehensive healthcare for the whole population and that the public must pay additional taxes ( direct or indirect, is yet to be decided ), for a healthcare insurance, almost like the UK-NHS system. I mus say that I am very concern about this move, planned under the 10th Malaysia Plan, healthcare transformation and re-structuring. And below is one of the reasons why.
In the April 14th on-line edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr Kim Smolderen of the Netherlands, published a study called the " Translational Research Investigating Underlying Disparities in AMI Patients Health Status ( TRUIMPH ) study. He studied 3,721 patients and divided them into 3 groups. Gp1 had full insurance coverage, Gp2 had partial ( inadequate ) insurance coverage and Gp3 had no insurance coverage. He found that in patients with chest pains and resulting heart attacks, there was asignificant delay in seeking treatment, between Gp1 and Gp2, and Gp3., meaning that those with adequate and full insurance coverage, not having to worry about the cost of treatment, will seek treatment earlier and on-time, compared to those with inadequate or no insurance coverage.
This is in fact stating the obvious as hospitalisation in the Netherlands is good but certainly not cheap.
I fear that this will also happen in Malaysia, when those who are in the lower income group will not dare to seek treatment, until it is way too late, if government hospitals no longer exist and all hospitals are run by third party payers, paid by health insurance, as proposed under the 10th Malaysia Plan Healthcare transformation and re-structuring.
At the moment, we have one of the better healthcare system in the world, when we are only spending 7% of our budget expenditure on healthcare ( RM1billion more then what we are alleged to have loss in the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco ). IF only the government will spend 14% of our budget on healthcare expenditure, we will be able to overcome all the current shortages in healthcare delivery, and potentially correct all the shortcomings, and still allo all citizens to get excellent healthcare with having to worry about insurance coverage.
I hope that we citizens will wake up and vote wisely, a government that will provide us with good healthcare, without new taxes.


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