Thursday, December 18, 2008

More will die sooner because of lack FREE government-provided heart healthcare in Malaysia

Free or affordable HEALTHCARE for all in Malaysia - that is what we must be striving for, but with the formation of the National Heart Institute (or the Institut Jantung Negara [IJN]) , we saw that free/highly affordable healthcare for heart patients, which was previously available in many government hospitals just slowly coming to an end.

Now - when they suspect that someone has a heart related problem, it is said that the doctors will just ask you to go to IJN...

But, it is not FREE .... it cost quite a lot of money. (Of course these rates are not evident in the IJN website...)

Perusing that website, I know that they have only ONE group of privilege patients, possibly who will not have to make any payment at all - and that group is called 'Government Patients' - all others would be private patients. The government patients is defined as below, but I am sure it also them MPs, ADUNs, etc...

Government patients include officers and their dependents (spouse and children) and pensioners of Federal Government departments
State Government departments
Local Authority / Statutory Body departments whose treatment charges and hospitalisation bills are borne by the departments.SOURCE: IJN WebsiteWe

Well, all others are called 'Private Paying Patients' - and these are all the rest of us - "...Patients who pay their treatment charges and hospital bill or borne by their employers or covered by their insurance policies...",

RM500 Deposit needed first - plus guarantee letters that payment will be made...

Can a normal Malaysian or others afford these kind of charges...

It is shocking to note that the Malaysian Government owned 99.9 percent of IJN - and this is how the UMNO led-BN government has been treating the people.

It was reported yesterday that Sime Darby had written to the government proposing to acquire a stake in IJN Holdings as the operator of the national heart institute.

IJN is currently the leading medical heart centre in the region and is 99.99 percent owned by the Ministry of Finance. - Malaysiakini, 18/12/2008 - Gov't gives green light to IJN privatisation
And, now we hear that private corporations are going to take over IJN - Sime Darby, it seems.

Why would SIME DARBY be interested? Only, if IJN is a money-making body ....profits, that is all private bodies are interested in. Surely not the welfare of human persons...

Bernama also reported yesterday, quoting OSK Research Sdn Bhd, that Sime Darby's interest in taking over IJN was in line with the group's mission to strengthen its private healthcare business through its healthcare division.

OSK said that Sime Darby would be able to ride on IJN'strong brand and reputation if the privatisation takes off.

However, OSK said there was still a long way to go despite the positive reception from the Finance Ministry to privatise IJN, as many issues needed to be considered before a final decision.

OSK said one of the Health Ministry's concerns was whether IJN's charges would be increased should it be taken over by a private corporation.- Malaysiakini, 18/12/2008 - Gov't gives green light to IJN privatisation
IJN's charges are already too high - and has become no more affordable to ordinary persons...and once privatized, it would surely be even higher...

Our 'prime minister in waiting', of course was not interested in ensuring free or affordable healthcare for ALL, seem to be more concered with BETTER healthcare for them who can afford it.

Najib today said the proposal would have some advantages for IJN as funding would not be a problem for Sime Darby and doctors would also receive better remuneration.

"Given the need for better treatment of heart diseases and the competition from new hospitals coming up, it is possible to pinch doctors from IJN," he said. - Malaysiakini, 18/12/2008 - Gov't gives green light to IJN privatisation
And what about the poor - the DPM wants a pledge..., and it is something so vague...and maybe they will take in a handful of poor, and that would be a fulfilment of that pledge. What about the rest of the poor and middle-class? Do we just die sooner by reason of the government's failure to provide the required healthcare for its people?

Najib said Sime Darby must pledge its commitment that the poor would not be marginalised if IJN is to be transferred to it.

"Whatever the position of IJN, it is important for the social programme to be given high priority," said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.- Malaysiakini, 18/12/2008 - Gov't gives green light to IJN privatisation

Healthcare - including heart healthcare must be available FREE for all in Malaysia. It is no use having the "leading medical heart centre in the region" but not ensuring that ALL in Malaysia have easy access and benefits from it.

But alas, the concern of the government is PROFITS... 'competition from new hospitals coming up'...

How many died in Malaysia died by reason of heart ailments/conditions over the last few years since the setting up of IJN (with its high unaffordable charges), who would most likely not have died if they had access to necessary healthcare.

Let Malaysia not go the way of the USA in terms of healthcare - we must look at Australia, France, UK, Cuba, etc... free healthcare for all.

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