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Medical care — a suggestion

Jan 04,2017 - Last updated at Jan 04,2017

The government officially denied that it would no longer provide needy patients with no medical insurance free medical treatment after rumours spread in the country, over the last few days, that this decades-old policy was not longer valid.

While this reaffirmation comes as a big relief to many who cannot afford to pay for medical treatment, the issue needs to be thoroughly studied and the problem of medical care should be solved on an institutionally sound and affordable basis.

As is, the government may not be able to offer free medical care for too much longer in the absence of a national medical care system that is fair to both government and patients.

Many Jordanians are already covered by one form of medical insurance or another. Those who work for the government or private companies, and their families, are covered at state-run or private clinics or hospitals.

There are those, however, who have no medical insurance and cannot afford either an insurance policy or to pay for any medical care in case of need. These people obviously need to have access to medical care, and so far, they can continue to benefit from the government-sponsored scheme.

But the existing system of providing medical care to the needy for free should be institutionalised, instead of remaining subject to personal whims and arbitrary guidelines.

The government, therefore, should study and adopt a system for the segment of the population that is deemed incapable of paying for its medical care needs.

To that end, there is need to define the people who could be entitled to government-funded medical attention free of charge and then enact an item of legislation that institutionalises the process within clear parameters.

Since this group would be accorded medical care at public health establishments, except, perhaps, for health problems that require highly specialised treatment that is not available in state-run medical institutions, there may be necessary to build more government clinics and hospitals, spread across the country.

That will give employment to more doctors and nurses, and will take care of those in need of their services.

 

Again, these aspects require clearly spelled-out legislation in order for those involved to know well in advance their rights and obligations, and for the rumour mill to stop.

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