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200 health officials to discuss medical cost sharing

Some 200 members of the Public Health Community will meet on Wednesday to discuss an appropriate ratio under which people would share the cost of their medical bills under the universal health care programme, Doctor Prachumphon Buracharone said on Tuesday.

Prachumphon, who is also president of the Federation of General Hospitals, said members of the community have been discussing the issue for a while and realise that it is necessary for the people to share medical costs with the state if tambon hospitals and public community clinics are to survive.

Prachumphon said the cost ratio would not be as high as 30 to 50 per cent of the medical bill as rumoured on the social networks. Many have cried foul at the idea that patients would have to pay 30 to 50 per cent of the medical costs per visit rather than nothing as is current practice.

Prachumphon said the cost-sharing ratio might be Bt30 to Bt50 per visit and the underprivileged and the elderly might be exempt.

Initially, the Thai Rak Thai government introduced the Bt30 universal health care programme, requiring each patient to pay Bt30 per visit to a public hospital, compared with 100 per cent of the cost.

But when the Democrat led a coalition government, it lifted the Bt30 requirement in what was seen as a populism to counter the Pheu Thai's initiative.

Public hospitals can clinics cried foul that they could not survive on the government's subsidy per head of patients from the government alone and needed to collect some fees from patients.


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