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SFH on healthcare reform

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, at a stand-up media session in the West Wing lobby of Central Government Offices today (December 19):

Reporter: Judging from the results of the consultation, do you think the public would accept any form of reform that would mean they have to pay more money one way or the other?

Secretary for Food and Health: I think the public need to know what the money be used for to start with. We had gathered the opinion, which is, most of the public understand there is a need for healthcare reform particularly financing reform. But as I mentioned, there was divergent view on how this should be done. According to the polls that we had received, most people would accept a voluntary insurance rather than anything with a mandatory element. But as you know that just a pure voluntary insurance may not be able to solve the problems that we are facing so we need to actually look at how we should propose our recommendation in the second stage.

Reporter: Why are you surprised that many people were not against fees increase?

Secretary for Food and Health: I think most people would be against any fee increases recently and I was actually surprised there was a significant percentage of respondents think that fees should be increased. I have to say that the reason behind can be complicated because some people think that we are providing too high a subsidy right now, and there are also people think that a low fee would increase abuses to our services and so on. So these are things I think we need to take into account. As I said earlier on, just purely by increasing the fees would not be able to solve the financing problem.   

(Please also refer to the Chinese session of the transcript)

Ends/Friday, December 19, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:43


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