Budget 2013 : What it means to healthcare?

For healthcare management and development, an allocation of 19.3 billion is given, an increase of 15 % from the previous year. I presume part of this will be to fund the ballooning number of 1Malaysia clinics, which will now offer free glucose and cholesterol checks.

There is a worry about the high number of diabetics that we have and thus a reduction in subsidy of sugar was announced. How this will translate to the lower income group is unknown. Sugar is a necessity and any increase in the controlled price will surely put a burden on the lower income groups. Perhaps increasing the health education and awareness might be still useful and not abandoned. I doubt that increasing the price of sugar will reduce its consumption! Wishful thinking at best.

200 million will also be allocated to Socso to provide free health screening to its members. What items that the health screening encompasses is not very clear. A further 25 million has been allocated for free breast cancer screening for women over 40 years of age. This is likely a good move but money alone may not encourage women to come forward. On many occasions, it is the lack of awareness and denial rather than the lack of funds.

What would be relevant is how this money will be utilised. I think this is the worry that many tax payers have. Great to see more money but will it be implemented and spent well? Otherwise and increase in funds is likely going to be futile.

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