Healthcare Budget : a barometer of the economy

Editorial

Slashing the healthcare budget usually indicates a desperate government trying to sustain economic survival. Healthcare is usually the last to suffer. This sector is essential to all populations and very close to their interests. 

For Malaysia, it is perplexing that healthcare suffers  at a much earlier stage. The timing of these budget cuts is atrocious with the recent introduction of GST. The initial claim that healthcare will not be affected by the introduction of GST has been unfounded. Therefore, private healthcare has escalated driving more patients to public hospitals. If there was any semblance of planning, this could have been easily forecasted when tabling the budget. 

So the Government has insisted on GST, ignoring claims to reduce corruption and inefficient spending first. They have continued to spend on less essential matters like the purchase of a new jet for the Prime Minister. And they continue to ignore the billions of ringgit lost in the 1MDB fiasco but instead has decided to pump in more money to keep it afloat. 

So the news of budget cuts to healthcare has come at the worst of times. It seems that the government has lost their direction and these decisions are absolutely incoherent. In order to keep some government agencies afloat, they have resorted to taxing the general public and hurting them where it hurts the most. There is hardly any accountability and transparency. Parliamentary debates are often ineffective and MPs continue to vote along party lines rather than what they think is good for the country. 

It is certain that Malaysia is in dire straits. The continuing escalation in the country’s debts is worrisome. One can assume that healthcare cuts can be a barometer of the health of the economy. and it is not looking good.