PETALING JAYA: An independent public policy research organisation today suggested that Social Security Organisation (Socso) legislation be reformed to enable claims for chronic diseases including cancer, regardless of disease stage.
This was one of the proposals put forth by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy in a brief titled “Saving Lives and Surviving Cancer in Malaysia: Recommendations for Policymakers”.
Other recommendations included the standardisation of fees in all public hospitals, the establishment of a coherent drug price policy as part of the Malaysian National Medicines Policy, and improvements in the regulation of private healthcare charges.
Galen CEO Azrul Mohd Khalib said this was important as cancer patients were often unable to obtain financial assistance and support to help them through treatment.
“It has forced them into serious hardship and even financial catastrophe. In many cases, it has been the difference between life and death.
“Surviving cancer should not be dependent on a person’s socioeconomic status, which is often the case today,” he said in a statement.
He highlighted in particular concerns that patients referred from private healthcare to public facilities were charged higher rates than those who entered the public system from the beginning of the diagnosis.
“There should be a common and standardised fee structure for all public hospitals, including those under the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Higher Education.
“We need to also seriously tackle escalating private healthcare costs through better regulation and transparency of the private health sector and adopting innovations such as the proposed Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme.
“Reform of relevant legislation such as the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 is needed to ensure that cancer survivors are able to claim their benefits, regardless of cancer stage, while they continue to work.”