KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 – Kuala Langat MP Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi today questioned if the proposed restructuring of the Ministry of Health (MOH) was a health care privatisation effort.
The Opposition MP highlighted the proposed separation of the health care provider and purchaser roles from the MOH in the Health White Paper (HWP) that was tabled by Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa earlier today in Parliament.
“Is this privatisation or what? We don’t want to see this burden borne by the people in our country,” Dr Ahmad Yunus, who is also head of Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) health committee, said in his debate on the HWP.
The HWP proposed a radical restructuring of the MOH to begin relinquishing both its roles as health care provider and purchaser, so that the MOH would only focus on governance and regulation, setting standards, and drafting health system policies.
The HWP envisioned transferring the role of health service provider from the MOH to health care facilities in the public sector that will be given autonomy, without elaborating much on how autonomous public health care service providers will operate.
The role of health service purchaser will be undertaken instead by a Strategic Purchaser entity that would buy health care services from the public and private sectors for a new “health benefits package” for the people. The health benefits package will be funded by a “special health fund” administered by the not-for-profit Strategic Purchaser.
Earlier, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Pagoh MP, requested for details on the proposed Strategic Purchaser entity, including on its regulatory and operational frameworks, and the source of funds that it will manage.
Dr Ahmad Yunus from PAS also said that the HWP’s proposed fee review in public health care facilities and proposed social health insurance scheme should not affect the hardcore poor or the bottom 40 per cent (B40).
“We must look at how poor people must be able to access health care.”