Cheap medical care to stay. The Government will not be doing away with health subsidies for the people, Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop told this blogger tonight.
"That's one subsidy we are not taking away," he said after the Bersemuka Bersama Media program at RTM tonight. Bernama editor Yong Soo Heong and I were the "media" who interviewed the Minister during the hour-long program.
During the program, the Minister mentioned in passing that the Government coughs up some RM9 billion a year to subsidize health care for the people. Over coffee later, I told him that health subsidy, like the subsidy for fuel, has also been abused by foreigners. The have been accounts of patients from a neighboring country who would fly into Sabah just to deliver their babies.
I asked him about the health insurance scheme the Government has been talking about for more than 20 years as a means to reduce or abolish those subsidies.
"Subsidies on health must stay. We will find ways to charge the foreigners more when they use our medical facilities," he said.
Is that good news?
Well, if we can't have an effective health insurance scheme, I suppose so. My little girl was stung by a jellyfish in a beach near Terendak camp yesterday. We sent her to the army hospital where the doctor attended to her, gave her two jabs, some rub-on powder, and a syrup medicine in a bottle. All for RM2.