The process to implement the National Health Financing Scheme, modeled after Medicare in the United States and NHS in the United Kingdom, is ongoing albeit slowly. In this scheme, taxpayers contribute a certain sum of their income monthly to a Fund which will then pay for the medical expenses incurred.
Unfortunately, much of the details is, of now, shrouded in secrecy with only occasional press statements. How and when it will be implemented is largely unknown.
Some concerns come from the public sector. This scheme will purportedly cover expenses for both public and private hospitals/ clinics. This will surely cause a major influx of patients to private hospitals, easing public hospital congestion to a trickle.
There will then be less reasons for government doctors to stay in civil service. The booming private sector will just be too hard to resist then.
I personally feel that in order to maintain the relevance of the public sector hospitals, there is still a need to address pay inequalities of healthcare workers, including nurses and other paramedical staff.
Apart from that, the NHFS should prioritise disbursement of funds to patients seeking help from government run hospitals, or at least broaden their coverage if treatment is sought in these places.
Lastly, we need the Government to be very transparent even at this planning stage of the scheme. There is little need to be secretive on a plan that is suppose to benefit all Malaysians.