In an attempt to facilitate a more integrated and efficient approach to administering major health policies, Dr. Cholnan Srikaew, the Public Health Minister, proclaimed the establishment of the National Health Board (NHB). This centralized body, presided by the prime minister, will strive to align the endeavors of various ministries and private entities, thereby driving health policies forward.
According to Srikaew, this transformation will strip the restrictions of health policy execution exclusively from the Public Health Ministry. This move is suggested in response to the sharp criticisms regarding the disjointed coordination among different agencies, affecting the standard of healthcare. He assures, however, that the NHB will not infringe on the roles of other agencies, such as the National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the National Health Commission.
Transparency has been at the helm of the Minister’s approach, with Dr. Srikaew emphasizing that the budgetary allocation for the NHB will not impinge on the financial allowances for other organizations, as its power squats solely on policy formation and supervision. Reiterating his commitment to the Public Health Ministry, the minister stressed the NHB will rather nourish its role by supplementing an all-inclusive and integrated manner of executing public health policies, sewing up existing gaps in the system.
In addressing public queries and concerns around healthcare schemes, Dr. Cholnan asserted that there is no potential roadmap to impose a 30-baht fee on members of the “gold card” universal healthcare plan each time they utilize medical services. The government will persist in enhancing the scheme, aspiring to minimize discrepancies within the universal health insurance programs – the “gold card” system, the Social Security Fund, and the health insurance policy for state officials.
Further observations came from Dr. Prasit Watanapa, a counsellor at the Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University’s Siriraj Hospital, nudging the governing body to channel a substantial amount of funds into the healthcare system. He believes that the country’s healthcare investment is languishing, especially when put head-to-head with the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Our priority must be to ensure an adequate financial backup to meet people’s healthcare expenses,” stated Watanapa. He also recommends an overhaul of the 30-baht universal health insurance plan but proposes governmental synchronization in reimbursing medical bills for civil servants and cracking down on fraud, for instance, utilization of counterfeit IDs to procure services.