ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
Ministry should force hospitals to cut health costs: Surapong.
THE PUBLIC Health Ministry should force public hospitals to sell health insurance to all foreign workers to tackle the financial deficit from providing healthcare to migrant workers and solve the issue of abandoned stateless children, experts suggested.
The Thai Health Reform Foundation (TRF) and Thai Health Promotion Foundation yesterday held a forum on the increasing number of abandoned stateless |children, after it was found that in areas such as Phuket and Tak’s Mae Sot district, many migrant workers left their babies at hospitals because they did not have money to pay for the medical fees.
The child abandonment |problem was mainly caused by some hospitals that refused to accept the health insurance of pregnant |workers and forced them to pay the full cost of delivering a baby.
Some hospitals have restricted the use of health insurance because they faced a financial deficit in |providing care for migrant workers with health insurance.
The former head of Lawyers’ Council’s Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, the Stateless, Migrant Workers and Displaced Persons Surapong Kongchantuk said that the hospitals’ financial problem could be solved by strictly enforcing the existing rules of the Public Health Ministry.
“In theory, the health insurance model for the migrant workers can run effectively and also generate huge profits to the health providers,” Surapong said.
“This is because the overall annual expense for migrant workers on this insurance scheme was around Bt900 million.
“But considering the number of insured persons in the system was over 1 million, who pay Bt1,600 per year for the insurance, the budget for the insurance will be up to Bt1.6 |billion, more than enough to cover the health expense.”
He said that this insurance model was very successful in many areas such as Samut Sakhon, where most of the foreign workers had bought insurance, as the hospitals could profit from the scheme because only a few workers use the benefits from the insurance.
The plan can also prevent hospitals from bankruptcy, as cases where hospitals have to subsidise high
expense for complex treatment are rare.
However, Surapong said that in the areas where the insurance did not work, such as Phuket, it was because the budget for the public hospitals is based on the official |population number in the area. Phuket has a large non-registered population, so the budget for the hospitals is not enough to treat the large number of people in the area.
“The solution for this problem is to let the workers in the area register and buy health insurance, which will solve the financial problem of the hospital. Moreover, |the government should enforce all public hospitals by using the power of Article 44 of Interim Charter for instance, to follow |the Public Health Ministry regulations and sell health insurance to all migrant |workers,” he said.
To resolve the problem of abandoned stateless children, Surapong said the Social Development and Human Security Ministry should cooperate closer with hospitals and help raise abandoned stateless children at their orphanages, as this is their duty according to the Child Protection Act.
Pakpoom Saweangkham from Raks |Thai Foundation suggested that family planning promotion among the migrant workers was also important to help |workers better plan their future and |financial management.
“The preventive approach is the best option to solve these problems. Meanwhile, the authorities should also adjust their |attitude on the migrant workers by seeing them as a people and stopping the |discrimination,” Pakpoom said.
According to Raks Thai Foundation, |statistic for 2009 showed that there were around 7,900 stateless people in the country, 551 of whom were children who were taken care of in official orphanages.