Thursday, November 20, 2014

HEALTHCARE COST SURELY TO RISE FROM NOW TILL APRIL FOOL’S DAY 2015

This statement was send to Star yesterday, as letter to the editor. Let's see if they will print. I am very concerned that the Custom's Dept have no clue as to the workings of the private doctors. While public hospital supplies and services are all zero rated, 1-2% of private healthcare supplies and services are zero rated, and the bulk ( 98% approximately ) are standard rated. The PM's call for Healthcare to be exempted ( in a very broad term ) we know now to be a farce and simply untrue.

The YB MOH announced last week  that not all drugs will be zero rated. In fact, a quick calculation revealed that probably less than 10% of commonly used drugs will be zero rated. Following  the numerous briefings , seminars,  Q&As, notes, documents and meetings with Customs Department, a few things are very obvious in this GST for Healthcare due for implementation about 6 months for now. Firstly, that Customs Department did not realize how many types of disciplines and categories there are in Healthcare. They must have thought that there is a doctor who sees patients and  who charges patients. Little did they realize that there are GPs, family physicians, specialists in solo practice, specialists in private hospital practice, etc  etc  etc. Secondly, it is also fairly obvious   that Healthcare is GST exempt means that only the doctors consultation fees is GST exempt. Not his fees for surgery and procedures, not 90% of his medications, not his professional indemnity fees, not if hospital collects the fees for the consultant ( which is the majority of the private hospitals ). Since that is what the government wishes, and since doctors have family and responsibilities he will have to increase his fees to cover whatever GST will take away. I am sure that the private hospitals will do the same.
The sum total being, healthcare cost will surely rise. It is only the quantum of rise that is yet unknown.

In order to avoid this, we call upon the government of Malaysia, to make Healthcare GST zero rated all along the supply and service chain. If that is not possible, then be prepared to face a severe rise in Healthcare Cost for the patients come 1st April 2015. It may be best to shelve this GST all together, until proper studies are done and the customs understand the working of private healthcare system.

The public must wake up. and take the government to account.

No comments: