Healthcare costs have bloated significantly in the past years. Medical insurance premiums are also rising due to the increase in claims as people struggle to afford basic healthcare. So it would appear to be good news that the oncoming goods and services tax ( GST) will not affect medical costs.
At a Deepavali open house last night, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told reporters:
"Generally healthcare is GST exempt but because the industry is so wide, it has to be studied in minute detail to list out which services and products are exempt,"
That does sound a bit halfhearted.
Towards this end, he said the ministry would be carrying out an in-depth study on the GST structure and issue a detailed list of services and health products that are exempted from the GST for public consumption.
Whilst we all wait with bated breath for this list to be made known, I believe it is true enough to say that another addition to already swollen-beyond-redemption medical costs will just force more and more desperate Malaysians to turn to shadier money sources or risk their health.
More good news: With effect from June 1, 2018, the GST rate of 6% will be reduced to zero percent as per government directive.
Picture courtesy of Tomasz Sienicki at Wikimedia Commons.