News Life and Health 21 Feb 2018

Macau:Govt and lawmakers debate possibility of universal health insurance plan

21 Feb 2018

The Macau government has indicated that it has no plans under imminent consideration regarding the establishment of a mandatory medical insurance system in the territory.

The Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Mr Alexis Tam, however, still allowed for the possibility of a public debate on the medical insurance system, reported Macau Daily Times.

Lawmakers Si Ka Lon and Song Pek Kei had proposed that the Legislative Assembly debate the establishment of a medical insurance system.

Mr Tam said that 97% of the patients at the only government-run hospital, the Hospital Conde S. Janu├írio (CHCSJ), are receiving free medical service. “Our medical protection is enough,” he said. There are three hospitals in Macau providing basic and primary health care services. The other two are privately run.

Mr Tam said that the Macau government is paying MOP14,600 (US$1,800) per resident per year for medical services, and that the total amount of such expenditure represents 10% of public expenditure by the Macau government. He said that the government covers 75% of residents’ medical services.

Lawmaker Au Kam San hopes the government would not completely rule out possible insurance systems just because it is satisfied with the current funding system for medical services.

Si Ka Lon also questioned whether the government can allocate part of the money it is currently using for public medical services to instead buy medical insurance for residents.

A Health Bureau report indicated that if a universal health insurance health system was introduced in Macau, per capital health expenses would more than double.

According to the report, medical spending by the Macau government and residents stood at MOP9.43 billion in 2016, while average spending per capita was MOP14,000. The report stated that under a universal health insurance health system, health spending would balloon to MOP23 billion with spending per capita reaching MOP35,800.



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