House Ready to Pass Health Bill Into Law

According to a report by Jakarta Globe, Indonesia’s House of Representatives is set to pass the health bill into law despite opposition from organizations such as the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI.) 

Emanuel Melkiades Laka Lena, the head of the House Committee on the health bill, has said the bill represents the interests of various parties, including health workers and community members adding that the House has provided an opportunity for dialogue regarding key articles in the bill before they are finalized in the upcoming plenary session. 

“The substances delivered by various groups that even led to a demonstration at the House building have been largely accommodated. We hope everyone will accept these common aspirations to be implemented as they will change the face of the national health system,” Emanuel said.

The IDI and other medical professional organizations have held protests against certain contentious articles in the bill, say Jakarta Globe, including the concern regarding limits on the number of associations allowed in any medical discipline.

Jakarta Globe say the bill also aims to reduce the authority of professional associations in issuing medical licenses as well as introducing criminal offenses for medical negligence resulting in serious patient harm, with a maximum prison sentence of three years. 

Critics however have accused the bill of granting excessive power to the health minister in determining medical education standards and competence to increase the number of medical specialists in the country.

Emanuel, however, claimed that the bill provides legal protection for medical professionals to prevent potential “criminalization” of their work. He mentioned that if legal issues arise from the actions of healthcare providers, an internal mechanism through the ethics council will be established to address them.

Regarding the mandatory health spending, Jakarta Globe report that Emanuel has said the House and the government have agreed to remove the requirement for 10-percent of the central and regional governments’ budgets to be allocated to health, emphasizing that the focus is not on the amount of the budget but on how it can be optimally utilized to support national health programmes.

Emmanuel also said the bill differentiates tobacco from other addictive substances like alcohol and narcotics. This separation was made based on inputs received from certain groups, including tobacco farmers.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash

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