Other sources of funding for healthcare needed – PwC
Sources of funding for healthcare other than general taxation may need to be explored, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Malta. The report, entitled Healthcare Delivery in Malta, says national health insurance and private sector involvement may be possible solutions.
The report says that in terms of private sector involvement, public private partnerships are emerging as a new and compelling model for healthcare funding. A larger provider market could also help mitigate escalating costs as at present, there is very limited competition in terms of healthcare providers, PwC says.
It says private health insurance in Malta accounts for just over two per cent of total health care expenditure. Around 21 per cent of the population has some form of private health insurance, while 10 per cent are estimated to benefit from an extensive refund plan.
The report suggests the government should “promote and regulate” the buying of such insurance in order to encourage its use.
PwC says the major challenge facing healthcare delivery in Malta is ensuring the financial and operational sustainability of the system.
“The challenge is to lower costs while improving quality without making undesirable tradeoffs. This is achieved by driving out existing inefficiencies and improving financial and operational performance.”
The report says a combination of demographic, economic, political and technological factors is pushing the heathcare cost curve ever upwards.
“The challenge facing healthcare players is to bend this curve without compromising access to care or quality,” it says.
In 2010 total healthcare expenditure (including both capital and recurrent expenditure) exceeded €530 million. It is estimated that recurrent total expenditure (public and private) in 2010 was in the region of €495 million.
The report says that demographics are changing and countries, including Malta, are facing a population that is living longer and using more medical services as it ages.
It is estimated that in Malta as much as 65 per cent of total healthcare expenditure is financed by the government.
Countries that have a similar proportion of expenditure funded by the government are Slovakia, Portugal, Hungary and Ireland. Denmark has the highest public healthcare financing, at 85 per cent.