HK to consult public on supplementary healthcare financing proposal

19:40, October 14, 2009      

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Wednesday said the government is working on a supplementary healthcare financing option based on voluntary participation and planning to consult the public on the proposal next year.

Delivering his annual policy address at the Legislative Council, Tsang said, by 2012, the city's healthcare spending will increase from 15 percent of the government's recurrent expenditure to 17 percent. He pledged to continue to increase the health budget to improve services.

The government initiated the first-stage consultation exercise on healthcare financing in March, 2008, which was, however, deferred due to the threat of influenza A/H1N1. The supplementary financing option will comprise insurance and savings components, and will be standardized and regulated by the government, the chief executive said.

The government will also make use of the 50 billion HK dollars (about 6.46 billion U.S. dollars) set aside to support healthcare reform to provide subsidies and incentives to encourage members of the public to join the scheme.

"This option will enable a wider choice of private healthcare services for those who can afford it, in particular those who are covered by health insurance," Tsang said, adding that this will ease the burden on the public healthcare system and make it more sustainable.

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