Alternatives Needed For Sustainable Health Care Financing — MMA

There is a need to think out of the box for solutions where health care financing sustainability is concerned, says the MMA.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) looks forward to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) health care financing reform plan, which is to be announced soon.

We hope the input shared during the forum on Healthcare Economics organised by MMA’s Federal Territory branch in January this year was useful in the ministry’s formulating of a plan.

Norazman Ayob (deputy secretary-general, finance, MOH), Prof Dr Hanafiah Harunarashid (Pro Vice Chancellor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), Dr Kelvin Yii (former special advisor to the health minister and former chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Health, Science and Innovation, Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz (president, Malaysian Medical Association), and Dr Thirunavukarasu Rajoo (honorary secretary-general, Malaysian Medical Association) participated in the forum moderated by Dr Hardip Singh Gendeh and Dr Sanjiv Rampal.

At the forum, the panellists discussed if a raise in GDP would solve Malaysia’s health care financial woes. Generally, it was agreed that the country can no longer solely rely on achieving a higher GDP for a higher health care budget allocation.

We are in a position where health services need to be expanded; but our high operational costs leave little room for growth in terms of developing human resources and services.

Meanwhile, health care costs are rising, hence there is a need to think out of the box for solutions where health care financing sustainability is concerned.

As rightly pointed out by the health minister recently, “financing strategies are needed to build a sustainable and resilient health care system”.

The following were health care financing solutions and strategies shared during the MMA forum:

  • Introduction of a social health insurance in the form of shared financing.
  • Improving and reducing the health care system’s operating expenditure.
  • Identifying and cutting down on wastages.
  • Digitalisation to track and monitor efficiency, productivity and wastages.
  • Improving public private partnerships.
  • Strong emphasis on preventive medicine.
  • Prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to lower high treatment costs.
  • Better management of public health care human resources.
  • Increasing the registration fees at public health care facilities.
  • The role of private GPs in the prevention and early detection of diseases in particular NCDs (which is increasing the public health care burden).
  • Importance of educating patients in preventing NCDs.

    The MMA believes these are workable solutions which we hope are being considered in MOH’s plans to reform health care in the country.

    Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz is the president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

    • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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