30 baht scheme stays, says Meechai

30 baht scheme stays, says Meechai

Patients queue up for their treatment at the government's operated Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute in January 2016.  (Bangkok Post file photo)
Patients queue up for their treatment at the government's operated Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute in January 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Health Security Office's (NHSO) 30-baht universal healthcare coverage scheme will not be scrapped under the draft constitution as reported across social media, Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Meechai Ruchupan said on Thursday.

Mr Meechai said Section 258 of the draft charter still backs all funds currently run by the NHSO, including the universal coverage scheme, better known as the 30 baht scheme. The section is intended for the funds to be operated more efficiently to directly benefit the people, he added.

"This is the first time for all funds under the National Health Security Office to have been written into the draft constitution -- not only the 30 baht scheme -- for higher efficiency and worthiness. The 30 baht scheme will not be scrapped as reported," Mr Meechai said.

The 30 baht scheme was among several populist policies that helped deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party win a landslide election victory in 2001. Other parties affiliated to Thaksin, including Pheu Thai, had also tightly adhered to the scheme in their election campaigns.

Mr Meechai said the new draft charter has two important parts -- the country's administrative structure and systematic solutions to the country's problems.

He said major problems to be solved concern people's rights and freedoms, disparities between people's livelihoods, the lack of straightforwardness in politics, corruption, the education system causing social disparities, and poor law enforcement.


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