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Jakarta Post

President rebukes minister, state insurer over health insurance deficit

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 17, 2018   /   04:35 pm
President rebukes minister, state insurer over health insurance deficit A patient covered by the state health insurance (JKN) is pushed by a family member after a medical check-up at the Bahteramas hospital in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi. (Antara/Jojon)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reprimanded Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek and Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) president director Fahmi Idris on Wednesday for the ongoing deficit in the state health insurance (JKN).

“The [deficit problem] should’ve been solved by the minister and the BPJS director. [How can] a matter related to hospitals’ debts reach the president? This is outrageous,” Jokowi said in his speech on the opening of the Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI) in Jakarta.

“If it happens again next year, that would be outrageous,” said the President.

Last month, Jokowi decided to increase the budget allocation for the BPJS to Rp 4.9 trillion (US$330 million) in the 2018 state budget.

However, that seems to be insufficient to cover the health insurance deficit, which is expected to reach Rp 10.99 trillion this year.

Therefore, Jokowi has asked the BPJS Kesehatan to swiftly fix its management system to avoid a deeper deficit.

The President has also ordered an audit on hospital bills following reports of excessive claims at hospitals causing mounting bills. 

The government has devised a “policy mix” to be implemented over several years that will enable the agency to increase revenue from more sources, including a tobacco levy. The Finance Ministry has also issued a regulation that imposes a ceiling on BPJS Kesehatan’s operational costs.