Question to the Health Minister
After 4 years plus, I have finally been given the number two slot today in Parliament for Question Time. My question to the Health Minister on the high cost of intensive care in a private hospital is based on a real-life experience of a Subang Jaya family.
The family visited my office more than a month ago asking for help to transfer a family member from a private hospital to a public hospital. The victim was in intensive care for 2 months and they ran out of money. The bill came to a staggering RM450,000. We did manage to transfer the victim to a public hospital but unfortunately, he passed away 2 weeks later.
The basic policy issue is such; that the government must do a comprehensive big data study on the average number of days spent in intensive care units for specific critical illnesses. This study must also encompass baseline costs of such treatment, so to prevent the private sector from overcharging. Such a study can then help to provide a good estimate of costs to families requiring such care so that they can make informed big financial decisions.
The current situation where consumers are not given proper estimates and information and at the same time, are driven by high emotions to save their loved ones, can be abused and lead to the financial ruin of the entire family.
Today, I would recommend the minister undertake such a study, then follow up with some form of new regulations after consulting with private hospitals on what constitutes reasonable fees. The sad truth is our government hospital’s intensive care beds are extremely limited. The waiting list for such transfers is very long and may take up to a month or more.
In the final analysis, this matter is about money; either the private sector lowers its fees or the government will need to build more intensive care facilities.
In that context, please note that MO1 (the kleptocrat in charge), has happily allocated himself for 2018 a whopping development budget of RM12.2 billion to spend, compared to the entire health ministry development budget of RM1.8 billion.
So when the government tells you there is no budget for better schools, hospitals to treat cancer, and better policing to fight crime, they are not telling you the full picture. There is money. Just poorly allocated to the kleptocrat.