Citizens Ask PM to Stop New Health Security Bill

 | Thu 6 Jul 2017 08:40 ICT

CityNews – Chiang Mai citizens are appealing to the Prime Minister to ask his assistance in stopping the new national health security amendments, specifically regarding the Universal Health Coverage Service, that will see middle-income citizens having to co-pay medical costs up to 50%.

The Universal Health Coverage Service (also known as the gold card) is a health package which includes curative services, health promotion, disease prevention and rehabilitation, and full protection of households from financial health risk for every middle class to low class citizen. This act currently covers 75% of the population in Thailand.

The Universal Health Coverage Service provides financial support of 80% or more of the overall cost of medical care. The National Health Security Office acts as a middle man purchasing services for citizens along with collaborate with contracted service providers, which mostly are non-profit public health facilities.

However, the proposed amendments to the act will see the Universal Health Coverage Service be only avaliable to those registered as a low-income citizen, leaving anyone with an average wage or higher having to foot between 30-50% of their overall health bill.

Another concern is that the committee members, which currently include 30 representatives from local and private sectors, and intellectuals, will be replaced by 32 representatives from contracted service providers. Citizens are concerned that the new committee will be biased and raises the question of equity as acting as the middle man.

An appeal was delivered to the Governor of Chiang Mai who has taken the request into consideration. Two conferences have already been held to discuss the health security act amendments, one of which stopped half way through when organisers were irritated by protesters walking out.