10.4.07

Free Medical Care for all

I believe at one point here in Jordan the government started an initiative to give free health care to all children under the age of 5, and that every year the age will be increased, resulting in a generation growing up with free health-care. That was a very commendable initiative and idea, but obviously as with many of the social programs, it went down the drain.

Currently, around 25 per cent of Jordan's 5 million population are insured with the Health Ministry, another 5 per cent are considered impoverished and are treated free of charge, 32 per cent are covered by the Royal Medical Services of the Jordan Armed Forces, and another 12 per cent are covered by private sector insurance plans, leaving around 25 per cent of the population without medical insurance coverage.

Now for Jordan the transition is easy to free health care for all. My suggestion is, collective collaboration, the 62% who are insured by the government either as civil servants or as military personnel are obviously a burden to the system, not to mention the impoverished. Therefore it would seem prudent that the government would try to cut down the cost. Obviously the government agrees that privatization is a good step, but it can't sell the idea of privatizing public hospitals to the public. The solution seems to be this:

Create a governing board for for each of the hospitals with the intention and will of making it a government owned company in the process of financial and managerial independence from the ministry of health. Basically, let the hospital compete with each other, in the process, the quality of health care shall improve dramatically.

Thereafter, we should calculate the average cost of insuring the 62% of the people and allow the private insurance companies to bid at insuring those citizens with equal or better health care. This way, the bureaucracy of the government is avoided and the lean capitalistic machine is set in motion.

In a country like Jordan this is easily applicable, the hospitals will provide better care to reel in the patients and the insurance companies will try to outbid each other therefore lowering the cost to the government. Both sectors in Jordan are developed enough to take such as drastic step, but it will provide us with much required benefits.

The reduced cost will gradually allow the government to increase coverage to all the children in the country and the insurance companies will obviously turn to the private medical establishments to provide better coverage for their clients.

A rough estimate of comparable examples in other parts of the world shows that coverage will increase to almost 75% which all that is needed in the first step. The next step will happen gradually as the medical industry will flourish under such steps therefore allowing them to give to lower rates rates as their entries will increase with their current overhead staying within current limits. The increased business will drive the employment wheel and will provide countless jobs.

This is my example of socialism integration with capitalism, social benefits provided by the people's taxes and the ever fierce competition of insurance companies. Naturally, this will require fiercer anti-trust laws in Jordan.

P.S. This writer is currently covered under insurance managed by a private establishment, he is not satisfied with the service.
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