Why break a perfectly decent public healthcare system?

Opinion  |  Zan Azlee
Published:  |  Modified:

Generally, Malaysia has a pretty good healthcare system in the sense that anyone who is a citizen can have access to affordable healthcare. The government hospitals and clinics are funded by a subsidised system that ensures prices remain within reach.

If you are admitted, the cost for the wards are not something of great concern, and you can even choose different classes. Third class may not be as comfortable as first class, but that is relative and at least the medical service is still the same.

Of course, the private healthcare industry is also thriving and private hospitals are mushrooming around the country very rapidly. But that is an option for the people. You will have to pay a much higher fee if you want the luxurious comfort of a private hospital ward.

But in all personal honesty, a Malaysian wouldn’t even need health and medical insurance because of the accessibility of government medical services. Yes, the lines can be long sometimes, but you’ll still get there.

However early this week, the Health Ministry made an announcement that might be an indication that the priority of providing affordable healthcare to the people might be dropping. The medical and ward charges for patients in first and second class will be increased come January 2017.

An estimated 75 percent of Malaysians choose to get treatment from government hospitals while 25 percent choose private hospitals. According to Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam, those who choose to go for first and second class can opt for private hospitals.

However, I would doubt that because it would be quite a big jump even from the first class at a government hospital to a private hospital. Most government first class wards would cost around RM80 a night. Private hospital wards can go as high as RM1,000 a night.

Rumours have indicated that the hike may be up to 50 percent but according to Dr Subramaniam, they have yet to confirm how much of an increase it would be...

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