(The Conversation) - Incremental creep and massive holes in universal health coverage (think dental care) have left many Australians questioning whether there’s any such thing as “free health care”. One recent study estimated households now pay directly for almost 25% of the nation’s health costs.
Into this existing mess of user charges has stepped yet another proposal to cost shift from government to households. The Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR), a small “think tank” set up by the smaller private health funds, has proposed a new A$6 co-payment for access to bulk-billed general practitioner services.
Mandatory payments for GP visits
The ACHR claims to build on the abortive 1991 Hawke government attempt to impose a similar charge. Like the Hawke proposal, it aims to relieve the federal budget by shifting part of the cost of primary care to patients.
(Daily Times) - The Federal Government through the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has said that there will be an outstanding improvement in the health sector as plans are underway to achieve a universal health coverage and Health Insurance Scheme in 2014.
He disclosed this while briefing news men at the inauguration of a committee on the takeover of the Otuoke Cottage Hospital in Bayelsa State by the Federal Government. Prof. Chukwu said, plans were on for the transfer of other state hospitals in the year 2014.
The 40-bed Otuoke Cottage Hospital will become an outreach centre for Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, once the committee finishes its assessment in as little as two weeks.
The federal government and Bayelsa state agree for Otuoke Cottage Hospital to come under federal control in line with a policy that mandates all 56 federal government hospitals to acquire at least three outreach centers each.
(Le Monde diplomatique) - In an unequal 21st-century world, access to healthcare is key to fighting poverty and ensuring social cohesion. Every year, 150 million people worldwide spend more than 40% of their income on health. Universal health coverage (UHC) would allow millions to receive healthcare without falling into poverty.
There is a growing focus on UHC in health systems. The 2010 World Health Report and associated declaration of the World Health Organization (WHO) general assembly urged member states to “aim for affordable universal coverage and access for all citizens on the basis of equity and solidarity.” In December 2012 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on UHC. Last May, the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim made a commitment towards UCH at the World Health Assembly.
(Channel News) - The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has promised that the health sector will witness remarkable changes in 2014.
One of the targets is achieving a universal health coverage and Health Insurance Scheme for Nigerians.
Briefing journalists after the inauguration of a committee on the takeover of the Otuoke Cottage Hospital in Bayelsa State by the Federal Government, the Minister said that plans were on for the transfer of other state hospitals in the year 2014.
He commended the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, for giving room for dialogue and averting the planned industrial action.
While the minister of health has his plans for the health sector in 2014, he may also have some industrial issues to deal with.
One of them is the impending 5-day warning strike being threatened by the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals and the Joint Health Sector Unions.
These bodies want the Federal Government to implement, among oth
Academia, Policymakers and Practitioners to Discuss Health for All to Universal Health Coverage: Journey So Far and Challenges at IHEPA's Third Annual Conference
(India Education Diary) - Report by India Education bureau, Pune: Indian Health Economics and Policy Association (IHEPA) in collaboration with Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and The Azim Premji University will be organizing a two day conference on “Health for All to Universal Health Coverage: Journey so far and challenges ahead”, at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics here on January 6 and 7, 2014. Special inaugural address will be delivered by Dr.Pavitra Mohan, Basic Healthcare Trust, Udaipur.
The conference will focus on Healthcare in India: Progress and Challenges towards Universal Healthcare Care, Human Resources for Health in Universal Health Care, future challenges and opportunities. Professionals and academicians will present their papers during the conference. In all, about 50 papers will be presented during the conference that will have parallel sessions in progress.
(Channels) - The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has suspended its impending industrial action scheduled to commence on Monday, January 6, 2014.
The Association made this declaration to the media at the end of its emergency National Executive Council (E-NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014, to reappraise the efforts made so far to resolve their demands.
The NEC, while noting the several appeals made by Nigerians and the media for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government, also noted the efforts and the personal commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the association.
In a statement signed by the President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr.
(Arabian Business) - The year 2014 is going to be a turning point in the history of the healthcare sector in the UAE, especially in Dubai. The most important thing is the implementation of the universal health coverage law in Dubai. Evolved after several years of homework, the system now guarantees quality healthcare for the entire Dubai population including citizens and expatriate employees - from labourers to higher management executives. Nearly two million additional people will be covered under the universal health coverage in Dubai. Provision of essential health coverage, routed through all major insurance companies, is mandatory for employers.
The law will have multiple positive effects on the emirate’s healthcare segment. All the existing health facilities should have to increase their capacity and infrastructure to accommodate the newly covered people.
(The Jakarta Post) - For Indonesians, welcoming this New Year also means welcoming national health insurance (JKN) with its evident problems.
Implemented via social security providers (BPJS), hopes and worries are mixed together. The JKN is certainly an Indonesian’s dream. However, we are still wondering whether the system will provide the finest universal health coverage and satisfy all stakeholders.
Some problems include rushed regulations as New Year’s Day approached, an unfinished financing and payment system and the availability of providers. The delays have resulted in uncertainty for nearly all stakeholders.
Providers remained uncertain how they will be paid by this system, until the Health Ministry issued regulation No. 69/2013 near the end of the year. However, its categorization of “mild”, “moderate” and “severe” ailments entitled to coverage of medical rehabilitation, for example, still lack explanation.
(The Jakarta Post) - After an almost 10-year delay, the law on the national social security system will be implemented on Jan. 1. This Law No. 40/2004 is equivalent to the Old Age, Survivor, Disability and Health Insurance Act or the Social Security Law of the US. Both laws were enacted after severe financial crises that alerted the countries to the crucial need for a social security system to overcome financial catastrophes.
While the US law covers four programs, Indonesia’s national social security covers five programs, namely health insurance, occupational injuries, provident funds, pension and death benefits.
There are some differences between the laws of the two countries. The US Social Security Law, without health insurance, was passed just three years after the 1932 Great Depression.
Indonesia’s law was enacted six years after the 1998 financial crisis and two years after the amendment of the 1945 Constitution.
(The Indian Express) - The UPA government is set to launch a Rs 15-crore advertising blitzkrieg for a Rs 150-crore revamp of the Jan Aushadhi scheme started in 2008.
Free drugs in government hospitals has been a proposed flagship programme of the Centre since a report of an expert group on universal health coverage pointed out that 70 per cent of out-of-pocket expenditure was on health.