Tanjong Karang MP: Either Double Health Budget Or Introduce Social Health Insurance

Tanjong Karang MP Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (Bersatu) says MOH’s 2022 budget of RM32.4 billion was “completely inadequate”, as he calls for health care spending of at least 5%-10% of the GDP or the “immediate” introduction of a social health insurance scheme.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 – Tanjong Karang MP Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi today told the government to at least double the public health care budget or to introduce a social health insurance scheme.

The Bersatu lawmaker noted that the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) 2022 allocation of RM32.41 billion only amounted to 2.1 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which he described as “completely inadequate and will weaken the MOH health service itself and is unable to be sustainable in the long term”.

“MOH requires at least 5 per cent of the GDP in order to improve its health services,” Dr Zulkafperi, a medical doctor who previously served in the military, said in his debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat.

“MOH doesn’t have much choice – either they’re given a bigger budget, between 5 per cent and 10 per cent (of the GDP), or MOH requires a transformation with the immediate implementation of a national health insurance scheme.”

The Opposition MP also thanked Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa for the recent opening of Tanjong Karang Hospital, a minor specialist public hospital in Selangor, with 132 beds.

Both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) previously promised, in their election manifestos for the 15th general election, to raise public health care expenditure to 5 per cent of the GDP in five years. 

The unity government led by PH, which includes BN, among other parties, is set to table Budget 2023 this Friday. 

The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy has previously called for the introduction of a payroll-funded social health insurance scheme that it estimates can add RM31.1 billion annually to health care spending to complement government allocations to the federal budget.  

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