BPJS a landmark in public health development in Indonesia

30 January, 2014 | Source: Antara News

In entering the new year of 2014, the government made a big step in public health in the implementation of the Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) service.


Under the ambitious scheme all Indonesians including expatriates, who have worked in the country for at least six months are to be covered with the health security scheme in 2019.

Officials have said around 172.84 milion Indonesians would join the new health care system.

It would be a milestone in the history of public health  development in the country if it could be effectively and consistenly implemented.

The government will pay the monthly fee for low income people.  Therefore, there should be no people having to worry about their medical bills.

"The BPJS would create greater justice in our development especially for our less fortunate brothers and sisters," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said during a year-end limited cabinet meeting in Bogor.

Scepticism about the implementation of the scheme on Januari 1, 2014 turned out to be false.  There had been fear that few hospitals would join and support the program.

Coordinating Minister for Public Welfare Agung Laksono said at least 1,700 of 2,300 hospitals all over the country had signed a memorandum of understanding pledging participation in the implementation of the National Social Security System (SJSN) in the health sector.

"They are both government and privately owned hospitals, Agung Laksono said, adding, "They will serve anyone holding health insurance from BPJS."

The government already set aside Rp.19,9 trillion in the 2014 state budget to pay for the health insurance of 86.4 million low income members of the community.  In addition, more than 35 million civil servants, policemen and employees of state companies including their family members are already covered by the program.

Other members or around 125 million more member of the community could join the program by paying premiums.

For the time being the Askes and Jamkesmas health insurance schemes for civil servants and private company workers are still valid before they are fully integrated into the new health insurance, Agung said.

He said those working in informal sector wanting to join the program could register themselves and pay the premium at assigned banks.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has stressed the imporantace of the program and remind those in charge to make sure that the program would be successfully implemented.

Therefore, all related agencies in the center and the regions, hospitals and all health facilities are required to work togeterh in carrying out "this important and historical program," the president said in  a news conference after the cabinet meeting in Bogor.

The meeting was held to make sure that the program had been well prepared before the implementation on January 1, 2014.


New History

Yudhoyono described the BPJS in health sector as a milestone in the history of public welfare development marked for tis greater justice for all.

He said as a new program, it might not be flawless and its implementation would not be without bottlenecks.

Obstables and difficulties are inherent in the implementation of such big program, he added. "Any problem should be immediately dealth with. Collaboration and synergy are needed between all concerned," he said.

The president said 12 government regulations and five presidential regulations had been prepared to facitlitate implementation of the program.

Implementation of the program is a realization of the Law No. 40/2004 on National Social Security System and the Law No. 24/2011 on BPJS.

"The laws provide legal basis for the implementation of this important program and policy aimed at improving the public welfare," the president said.

In announcing the new program the president said he had decided to revoke two presidential decrees that allowed cabinet ministers and other high ranking officials to use state money for medical treatment abroad.

He revoked the decrees which he signed only a day earlier after a public outcry.

A. Hasyim Muzadi, a leader of the Nahdatul Ulama, the country′s largerst non political Islamic organization was among strongest critics calling for the revocation of the decrees.

"Giving excessive financial facilitiies for state officials even as the people continue to suffer from poverty and natural disasters is a mistake," Muzadi said.

Rieke Diah Pitaloka, a lawmaker from Indonesia Democratic Partly of Struggle, critiized the signing of the decrees as a careless move Yudhoyono.

"Today, after a meeting with his helpers, Yudhoyono said he will be revoking the decrees following intense criticism.  Such as argument does not reflect the qualities of a leader, Rieke was quoted as saying.

"It is as if toying with the public, Yudhoyono should not have signed the decrees in the first place, she added.




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