1CARE HEALTH SCHEME NEGLECTS THE POOR AND NEEDY
The 1CARE health scheme proposal is another grand plan to rob the sick and needy to enrich the UMNO cronies. In formulating the proposal government did not consult and dialogue with the stakeholders. This confirms the fact that government is out of touch with problems of ordinary folks. Government seems to be more concerned with securing lucrative deals for UMNO cronies and its leaders. Every other day Malaysians are watching the unraveling of one scandal after another. The 250 million National Feedlot Corporation scandals, the west coast expressway with 60 years concessions burdening hapless travelers and the RM900 million per annum illegal logging are the latest list of scandals that do not seem to bother the government. Now the government wants to rob the sick and needy with the 1CARE health scheme.
In the 2012 budget the finance minister allocated RM17 billion out of RM233 billion to ministry of health to provide health care. This allocation includes RM8 billion for the payment of emoluments and RM6.61billion for the purchase of supplies and services such as medicines, consumable items, maintenance and utilities and the balance on development of health care like building new hospitals. Hospital projects like the RM482 million abandoned hospital in Shah Alam still continued to be awarded under direct negotiation to UMNO cronies. Yet government has no money to provide proper health care to Malaysians. Last year the auditor general pointed that RM5.51 billion spend on unbudgeted payments due to purchase of poor quality goods and services and repurchases, penalties paid for negligence and non collection of government dues in the year 2010. In Malaysia, every time something is privatized, instead of bringing a better life to Malaysians, inevitably we are made to pay. Electricity, Pos, Telekom, tolled roads, Indah water are some instance.
Malaysia ranks number 151 of 193 countries in health care expenditure as % of GDP between the years 2000-2005. (http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html). Our health care expenditure is around 4-5% of the GDP every year. This shows Malaysia is one of those countries that under invest on the peoples’ health. Malaysia is ranked 90th in healthy life expectancy. On the whole Malaysia has underperformed in providing health care services to its citizens. Malaysian ranking on Health system attainment and performance is 89th out of 191 countries. Therefore they must invest and improve their productivity and competency in health services systems. Instead of increasing the health care expenditure, the government is passing the buck to the people who are already saddled with increased cost of living and stagnant salaries. Malaysia a natural resource and human resource rich country can provide much better health care service without burdening the people any further.
If government implements 1CARE scheme, what will happen to those who are jobless, poor and the old aged. Where will they go for healthcare? Under the 1CARE scheme government wants to assign the patient to only one doctor and the patient will not be able to see another. On top of that, the patient will only be able to see the doctor six times a year. And it wants us to pay 10 percent of our salary per month for this insurance. The poor workers salary is already suppressed by the presence of millions of foreign workers. 40% of Malaysian workforce is foreign workers and 34% of Malaysian workers live in hardcore poverty. How will they pay for the health care?
Malaysia had one of the best health care systems in the world before 1980s. But when the privatization spree started under Mahathir rule, all went down the drain and the focus shifted to enriching the greedy UMNO cronies. Government has abdicated its social responsibilities for the sake of creating BUMIPUTRA millionaires. But in reality the poor Malays are further burdened to support a few UMNOPUTRA millionaires. The prime minister’s transformation programs are all big talk with no results. 15 years of consecutive budget deficit shows that the government is misappropriating the revenue without any benefit to people. Instead the prime minister is busy spending RM500 for each poor but many Indian poor are left out too and RM100 for every student. UMNO and its allies have no political will to transform the health care. All they care is enriching themselves.
Senator S. Ramakrishnan
From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan
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