Why revamp our healthcare system with 1 Care?

— CK Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 11, 2012

FEB 11 — Many have written on this subject. Most are concerned about the implementation, costs, bureaucracy and effectiveness of the 1 Care scheme. Perhaps there is another holistic approach the government can consider.

Best treatment for the rakyat

Even in most developed countries those who did not have medical insurance will have to accept public health care and those who can afford it are treated in private hospitals. This is a reality of life, all citizens accept this. Have we heard anyone complain that he should be treated in a five-star private hospital when he knows well that he cannot afford it? The government cannot lose votes on this score. Malaysian citizens are mature enough to realise this fact —not all men are equal! We have the poor, the middle class and the rich — every society has this social structure.

Malaysia’s public health care is highly rated

Compare with even advanced countries, our public healthcare system is highly rated. The equipment in public hospitals are second to none, even more sophisticated than in private hospitals. But better trained staff are required to operate them.

Waiting time

Sure there are long queues, waiting up to two or three hours is normal. Even at private hospitals, seeking an appointment with a specialist incurs a waiting time of an hour or more. The government should have a solution to the long waiting time due to the huge numbers of patients. Increasing the number of health care staff is a simple and good solution. Have separate queues for senior citizens and the handicapped — these people should have priority. This would ease the “pain” for these people.

Managing increasing costs

No citizen will hold a grudge if medical fees are reasonably increased over two or three years. After all, these fees go back to the government and not to any third party, thus avoiding criticism of cronyism. Citizens can accept this. Perhaps for those above 60 years and the handicapped, medicine and fees can be waived to alleviate their medical costs.

There are huge numbers of non-citizens seeking treatment in public hospitals and this is a burden on healthcare costs. While it is a moral responsibility to treat these people, the government must recognise that citizens must be given priority. Perhaps these non-citizens can be charged on a moderate scale for consultation and medicine, say, 50 per cent subsidy. No country in the world subsidises medical treatment to non-citizens. Not even the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Korea, etc. So why must the government and the rakyat be burdened by non-citizens. By doing so, public healthcare costs and government subsidy are lessened. This may sound callous, but let us face reality. Citizens must come first!!

Healthcare budget

With only two per cent of our budget allocated to health care, it must rank low by world standards compared with developed and other developing countries. The government must and should double or triple this amount. Cut from unnecessary and ego-promoting projects! Plug leakages and corruption — billions can be saved and utilised for health care. Do we need 270 units of armoured personnel carriers totalling some RM7.6 billion (and reportedly the cost from Turkey was only RM1.6 billion?) Do we need six littoral patrol vessels at RM1 billion a piece when the US Navy has only two? We can afford health care if we can save from all these.

Unnecessary 1 Care costs

While no specific numbers of staff and costs are available, implementing the 1 Care scheme will incur additional staff and further costs. The civil service is already bloated. What transparency can be expected? Why do we need to “invent” and copy from the UK’s NHS — which incidentally is facing lots of criticisms when the British government wanted to reduce its healthcare coverage.

Politicians must remember this — “privileges” once given out can never be abolished even though there are justifications, even when the government cannot afford it, even when facing bankruptcy. Look at Greece, Spain, Italy —strikes and demonstrations are the order of the day. This brings social and economic unrest.

Shouldn’t we try not to re-invent the wheel. We have a good healthcare system — all it needs are improvements. Something that can be achieved fairly easily and quickly.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 7:27 am

    //Do we need six littoral patrol vessels at RM1 billion a piece when the US Navy has only two? //

    Hey Ajib, we need 13 aircraft carriers bcos the USA has 12!

  2. #2 by drngsc on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 8:58 am

    Hey Clara,
    You are perfectly right. The government should improve and prioritise the public system with injection of funds ( no need much – less than PKFZ 0, 2-3% of GDP, and curb the excesses of the private sector. I suppose, basically, DO NOT MAKE HEALTHCARE INTO A BUSINESS. IT IS A NATION’S SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
    Non-citizens must be made to pay. If I should go to USA and unfortunately fall sick, I will pay through my nose.
    But, a quick reference to the ETP 2010 launched by Dato Idris Jala shows that the government wants to ” Create Wealth through Health” thereby making healthcare a business issue, although it will burden the people. 10% of average household income is a lot. Therein lies the problem.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming. It is our best chance. 1 Care is an issue. Let us all arise and make a difference.

    We need to

  3. #3 by Winston on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 9:36 am

    Well, well, well!
    Reams and reams have been written about this matter recently.
    And this article is but one of the many appearing online.
    The point now is not what is done is being stupid and crony
    Things like these have been going on for far, far, far too long
    and Malaysians have been swallowing them each time.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 9:45 am

    Why revamp our healthcare system with 1 Care?

    Because someone is able to pocket RM 45,000,000,000 annually when the new system starts

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 11:28 am

    Can an organisation whether govt or a company improve the branding/image of its product/service (say, ‘1 Care’, ‘Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia’ etc) when the central mission statement of that organisation “1 Malaysia” already encounter widespread skepticism of its credibility, and this is not just by political detractors/opposition (remember Kit said that it was not work in progress but in regress) but also by a still influential ex premier who was once quoted to have said he didn’t quite understand what ‘1 Malaysia’ meant, and we have DPM saying that he’s Malay first and Malaysian second, and also growing influence of Perkasa’s opposite message/agenda unchecked by the 1 Malaysia administration? Hence on receiving the suggestion of “1 Care”, is there any surprise so many immediately question whether its a health system that cares or just a complicated scheme to tap on rakyat’s monies to make up and balance against shortfalls in Govt’s revenues/public coffers stemming from the soft loans and bailouts to the many 1 PKFZ(s), 1 Cattle feedlot project etc? Political image groomers and consultants paid from public money to improve the administration’s “one” branding must surely know image branding won’t work when fundamental credibility & trust from target audience on the organisation itself and people within it, is just not there!

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 11:33 am

    Everything with a ‘1’ prefix these days seems to attract controversy and suspicion that something is just not right with it.

    Like 1Menerung (Cowgate), the 1Malaysia concept that many, including Muhyiddin and Mahathir does not understand, 1Kedai which has food and product defects, the 1Klinik with similar problems etc etc. Now 1Care.

    Poor ‘1’. It needs Transformation.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 12:13 pm

    The debate over this is simpler than people think. The bottom line is simply this healthcare reform is probably harder than any other kind of reform – the issues are really hard only really very good government can lessen the impact and that is simply NOT UMNO/BN. If UMNO/BN cannot reform corruption and other inefficiencies of education, crime, public service, defense contracts etc, it cannot reform healthcare – throwing money into it just a recipe for eventual waste and disaster.

    So, forget all the complex argument – UMNO/BN cannot get rid of corruption, crime, public schools, defense contracts etc. it can’t reform healthcare.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 12:20 pm

    //Everything with a ’1′ prefix these days seems to attract controversy and suspicion that something is just not right with it.//

    Ibrahim Ali is going to open a line of shops selling 1Condom, while his buddy ChuaSL is going to franchise his 1SnakeOil soon

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 12:24 pm

    It giving Najib’s and his image consultants headache – this “One” or “1” this or that which has assumed a liability of negative branding in relation to the targeted market segment whose support is canvassed…

    Eg of positive branding – wear Nike shoes and you’ll hit as well as Tiger Woods; or Drink Pepsi and you’ll dance just like Michael Jackson etc

    Its positive because Tiger Woods’ or Michael Jackson’s image brand name itself is popular associated with being able to perform and competent. Therefore when Nike or Pepsi is associated with it, they get promoted positively.

    Problem with “1” or “One” brand is that it was at inception associated with hypocrisy, when its squarely ridiculed by those having vested interest in the present racist patronage system, and roundly ridiculed by Opposition and Civil Society for not delivering on its promise. Therefore whatever associated with “1” or “One” brand – whether 1 Care, 1 Kedai, 1 Milk or whatever else extended- will receive skepticism from many critics by reason of association with the negative brand….

    Eat Kellogg’s and you’ll swim your way to the gold like Michael Phelps. .

    Drink Pepsi and you’ll dance just like Michael Jackson che

  10. #10 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 1:03 pm

    //Have we heard anyone complain that he should be treated in a five-star private hospital when he knows well that he cannot afford it? …Malaysian citizens are mature enough to realise this fact —not all men are equal! We have the poor, the middle class and the rich — every society has this social structure.//

    Same case as with housing– the rich in their gated and guarded luxury bungalows while the poor huddle in their squalid 500 sq ft low-cost flats. We don’t hear of the poor demanding the right to purchase gated and guarded bungalows.

    So what happens if Ah Jib Gor suddenly decides that all malaysians should contribute say 30% of their monthly salaries to a 1Rumah scheme, whereby both the poor and the rich can (theoretically) have better homes? Does this mean that the rich would have to subsidize the poor so that the latter can have the capability to live in bungalows?

  11. #11 by Winston on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 2:56 pm

    In fact, if I were to run the healthcare in this country, I would
    give the private clinics and private hospitals a run for their
    By retaining the present system of having separate public and
    private health facilities.
    By allocating a much bigger budget of say, seven percent instead
    of the current two to three percent, to healthcare.
    By ensuring that all the doctors must pass a standard
    examination to ensure their quality.
    By increasing the healthcare charges to ensure more money
    is collected from patients; the present charges are way too low.
    Only those who really cannot afford are charged reduced rates or
    even exempted.
    By having a health minister who has a proven track record of
    being a caring person as well as being a first class administrator.
    Once the above are in place, the standard of healthcare in the
    public health facilities will vastly improve.
    This will definitely give the private hospitals and private clinics
    a run for their money.
    Initially, more people, especially the lower-middle class will opt
    for the public health facilities.
    This will in turn cause the private health facilities to lower
    their charges to attract back their patients.
    So, finally an equilibrium will come about.
    Mull on that!

  12. #12 by monsterball on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 5:10 pm

    First Defence….best Dept to rip billions.
    Then Health care..
    One to protect Malaysians….one to see Malaysians live longer.
    Which ordinary Malaysian will reject such a caring Govt.?
    Never ceased to keep fooling Malaysians…Govt thinks they can.
    All are idiots to them.

  13. #13 by Loh on Sunday, 12 February 2012 - 5:12 pm

    /// Why do we need to “invent” and copy from the UK’s NHS — which incidentally is facing lots of criticisms when the British government wanted to reduce its healthcare coverage.///—the Author

    It should be alright if the government copies NHS in UK. UK is going through a reform to cut down on bureaucracy in NHS but 1Care invents new bureaucracy. UK government would not pay its citizens who seek treatment in private health care services.

    Instead of thinking about pooling facilities of private health services to be run by a super government agency, it should try to earn revenues from government hospitals. For example, government hospital should be able to receive fee paying patients for surgeries, perhaps charging at 25% to 50% of procedures done in private hospitals. The medical staff should get honorarium for such services. Government hospitals can also set up sections to treat fee paying patients, so long as it costs less than private hospitals. The earnings can be utilized to make incentive payments to the medical staff.

  14. #14 by mm08 on Monday, 13 February 2012 - 8:20 pm

    We surely do not need any 1 Care Health system, why should we? We do not have the right person to manage the plan, the administrator mind is only thinking of how to make their own money, bribes, how to dig money etc. Do they care of the patients and those people who in need of the health care service? We as tax payers paying to them for their cronies to enjoy the luxury lives.
    Our “clever” government already been doing enough selling work for us. Signing all the one sided agreement for highways, for MRT, what else? NFC, giving grant for the purpose of rearing the cows become buying condos. They should pay back the loan and at the same time the thick face minister should resign. I do not believe that she does not know a thing of this and she is not realated to the NFC matter. Her integrity and credibility is gone. GOt the guts to abuse our tax payer money and no guts to admit the mistake. Why our Malaysian minister all no standard. Everytime something happen, will blame others and not themselves. It is a very bad example to show the people and also the world.
    Even our General Hospital now, the staff are making their own money by stealing the drugs to sell outside for their own benefit. If we control it, we can save a lot of wastage and machines as well. Don’t be surprise that we bought expensive machines and an ignorant medical staff spoilt it..and all these are unnescessary wastages.
    Why we need to pay extra 9-10% per household for a 1care which is not really care for us? I will protest 100% on this STUPID plan…

  15. #15 by HJ Angus on Monday, 13 February 2012 - 11:19 pm

    Well they approved 1LYNAS that could affect thousands when we experience a radioactive disaster and hence 1Care is need for that eventuality.
    You surely don’t expect to have ZERO accidents?

  16. #16 by Loh on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 3:52 pm

    ///He (LTL) says the Health Ministry is mounting an information campaign to correct ‘erroneous details’ of the proposed healthcare plan.///–Malaysiakini

    Whatever the details can he deny that the government intends to get citizens to pay monthly, on deduction of salary to the government, towards 1Care?

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