Gov’t Struggling With Healthcare Costs

Gov’t Struggling With Healthcare CostsGov’t Struggling With Healthcare Costs

A one percent decline in people’s medical expenses translates into $245 million in additional funding by the government, says deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi.

The Health Ministry’s goal is to minimize health expenses and keep health costs at the lowest in the Middle East region with the launching of the Healthcare Reform Plan in May 2014.

In the Middle East, on an average, people pay 39% of their health bills. On a global scale, the figure is 18%.

He said any overcharging by private and public hospitals should be brought to the notice of the ministry.

Last year, 10% of the total income from targeted subsidies and one percent of the value added tax (VAT) were earmarked for the Health Ministry, but due to the sanctions (on Iran over its nuclear program) and steep fall in international oil prices, only 85% of the projected amount was realized.

“Similarly, in the first three months of this year (started March 21), our share from targeted subsidies, VAT and government funding to support the Healthcare Reform Plan, has not been completely allocated due to budgetary constraints,” Harirchi said, but stressed that the ministry has not been affected by the financial cuts and has continued its healthcare services in the cities, villages and suburbs with less than 20,000 population.

“The government, the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Welfare have made efforts to check high health costs on the people and prevent a return to earlier times when they had to pay for 60% of their health bills from their pockets.”

With the right measures, 6% of the medical expenses will be borne by the people in cities, and 3% by residents in rural areas, he added.