Bt30 - A Valued Name For A Health Scheme
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users
4 replies to this topic
Posted 2012-09-04 06:47:01
Bt30 - a valued name for a health scheme
BANGKOK: -- Policy branding is the name of the game for the big rival parties - the Democrats and Pheu Thai.
This week the government rebranded the universal health system as the improved Bt30 healthcare scheme.
The key word is Bt30, which is music to Pheu Thai MPs but an earache for the Democrats.
Former public health minister Surapong Suebwonglee and the late health advocate Sanguan Nittayarumphong were the prime movers behind universal health coverage.
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra endorsed, packaged and spearheaded the Bt30 scheme, one of his populist policies which led to his election victory in 2001.
By 2002, the health coverage was institutionalised by the National Health Security Act.
Based on World Health Organisation guidelines, this legislation led to the formation of the National Health Security Office to look after 18 million people without health insurance and an additional 29 million people covered by less comprehensive schemes.
The Bt30 scheme ensures health cover for all Thai citizens, especially those who cannot avail themselves of social security services and the civil servants' medical benefit scheme.
The standards of healthcare have evolved and improved since the days of Thaksin.
Following the 2006 coup, the interim administration made it possible to receive expensive dialysis under the Bt30 scheme.
Successive governments, under Samak Sundaravej, Somchai Wongsawat and Abhisit Vejjajiva, introduced further high-cost treatments to the scheme despite political turbulence.
By the time the Abhisit government came to power in 2008, the healthcare scheme had progressed to a point whereby the administrative expenses to collect Bt30 per treatment exceeded the fee earnings.
As it became a burden for state-run hospitals to charge Bt30, the Democrats decided to change the name of the scheme to universal healthcare coverage, also known as health for all.
Thaksin and his Pheu Thai cohorts were understandably unhappy with the name change. They voiced suspicion that the Democrats dropped the Bt30 label from the scheme in order to deny them due credit.
Throughout the 2011 election campaign, Pheu Thai candidates insisted on restoring the Bt30 scheme.
It took the Yingluck Shinawatra government a year to undo the name change.
In July, PM Yingluck chaired a key meeting to give the green light for improved emergency services.
And next month, the scheme will be upgraded to ensure uniform treatment for people living with Aids/HIV and those with chronic kidney failure.
Yingluck opted to ensure an overall improvement in healthcare before changing the name back to the Bt30 scheme.
As if anticipating criticism from the Democrats, the prime minister made sure to point out the improved standards as proof the Bt30 wording did not signify regression.
Officially, the healthcare coverage is now known as the improved Bt30 scheme.
The government's insistence on the inclusion of Bt30 in the scheme has nothing to do with the charge per treatment.
From 2001 to the present, the medical fee has been collected on a voluntary basis. The rebranding of the scheme is just a means for the government to remind voters it gave birth to healthcare for all.
If Bt30 is an exclusive brand claimed by Pheu Thai, then the Democrats, if and when they can grab power, will surely await their turn to expunge such a brand.
Opposition chief whip Jurin Laksanawisit said the government had gone overboard to bring back the wording of Bt30. What he left unsaid was the Democrats would not tolerate such a wording if they had a say in the matter.
Judging from the Democrat-Pheu Thai rivalry, the healthcare coverage will likely face several more name changes in the future depending on which government is in power.
-- The Nation 2012-09-04
Posted 2012-09-04 07:23:59
... and then had to decide to make any payment voluntary, as reintroducing a fixed-charge, for something which had previously been free for years, was indeed regression, and there is already widespread concern at rising-prices, under her administration.
But why not go the whole way, and rename it the 'Thaksin Administration-Charge', a decade after the scheme was first introduced, but not properly funded ? In memory of the man who (credit where it is due) did actually first implement it ?
Socialised-medicine is always, in any country, going to involve funding-problems, by its very nature. But is a good thing, in principle, provided it is operated fairly & most of the money goes to medical-care, rather than administration.
Why not go one short step further, and establish the 'Yingluck Administration-Change', and make the (fairly-limited at times) hospital-treatment free-to-all Thai-citizens, upon presentation of their Thai ID-cards, without any of this paperwork which diverts funds away from the patients ?
Edited by Ricardo, 2012-09-04 07:26:11.
Posted 2012-09-04 10:31:08
Meantime in the USA, the richest country on earth over 44 MILLION people have no health insurance at all and an uninsured visit to a doctor is very very expensive..
Thailand covers about 50 MILLION people out of a population of about 60 million.
Granted maybe Thai medical standards are not as high in some areas as the USA but if you are poor and sick would you rather have something or nothing?
Posted 2012-09-04 10:54:15
No matter who brought it in, or improved it, Universal Health Care, is a good thing. In today's world, nobody should be without proper medical/dental care. For sure not, in so called civilized Countries, such as the US, Canada or Europe. It's shameful, to see people without coverage, in Countries that have so much money to spend on war, war machinery, luxury goods, such as private Yachts, private Jets, etc., while their not so fortunate citizens go without the basics, such as food, shelter and medicine.
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users