August 31, 2010

INDONESIA: Healthcare for Indonesia - Universal or not? A viewpoint

JAKARTA, Indonesia / The Jakarta Post / August 31, 2010

By Jennie S. Bev, San Francisco

The Indonesian Health Ministry claims to have spent eight years drafting a universal healthcare bill, but has been facing a series of hurdles: lack of funding and other technical issues. The 2008 health insurance scheme for the poor, Jamkesmas, is notorious for its complex procedures and documentation requirements.

For Indonesia to pursue universal healthcare is constitutional, as it is stated in the 1945 Constitution amendments of Article 28H and Article 34 (2) and (3), as the poor’s healthcare is assured by law. The underlying premise is the financially able should assist those who are not.

The notoriety in defining “poor” in Indonesia is because it is based on a local authority’s letter stating one’s poverty (surat pernyataan miskin). Compared with the USA, where one must show one’s annual tax report statement that quantifies the exact taxable earnings. Such a subjective statement of being “poor” in Indonesia must be revised, which brings with it implications for tax-reporting procedures.

What is exactly is “universal healthcare”? Why is it appealing? Is it the answer to all healthcare issues?
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The writer ( is an author and columnist based in Northern California.
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