With the presidential election on the horizon, candidates Hou Yu-Ih (KMT) and Ko Wen-Je (TPP) have unveiled their own respective healthcare policies. Both candidates have emphasized the need for Taiwan to bolster its commitment to healthcare, underlining the inadequacy of healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP, which stands at 6.6% at the moment. They advocate for a significant increase to 8%.
In response to this criticism, Dr Hsueh Jui-Yuan, the MOHW Minister, expressed that the MOHW will consult with the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) about the definition and calculation method of this ratio by aligning it with international standard. He predicted that, following the adjustment, the ratio could potentially reach 8.8%, similar to the ratio in South Korea. The MOHW will also search for measures for improvement and make relevant announcements by the end of this year.
Dr Hsueh stressed that “to increase the ratio of healthcare expenditure to GDP year by year” is not just a slogan. Given that various calculation models may incorporate different components, such as Current Health Expenditure (CHE) and National Health Expenditure (NHE), it would be inappropriate to draw direct comparisons between Taiwan and other countries.
Dr Hsueh explained that in some countries, long-term care expenditure is encompassed within the NHE; but, in Taiwan, it is classified as social welfare expenditure. The Taiwanese government has set a budget of NT$80 billion for next year’s long-term care. If this budget is included in the calculation, the ratio of healthcare expenditure to GDP would be significantly elevated.
Similarly, private healthcare expenses covered by patients constitute approximately 30% of the NHE. In other countries, this item is considered as commercial health insurance rather than personal spending, hence included in the calculation model. This presents another discrepancy in the calculation basis. Dr Hsueh stated that the MOHW is arranging a meeting with the DGBAS to discuss this issue and explore potential adjustments to the calculation. Relevant policies will also be announced by the end of this year, said Dr Hsueh.
【2023-09-06 / United Daily News】