Health Care Financing
Health care is the area that presents the greatest challenge to the stability of long-term public finances in this city because of an ageing population. The Secretary for Food and Health will conduct a public consultation on health care reform, in which various service reform proposals and different supplementary financing options will be put forward for public discussion. The Government is committed to increasing the share of health care expenditure to 17 per cent of its recurrent expenditure by 2012. Since the Government cannot increase public health care expenditure indefinitely, we hope that supplementary financing arrangements can be implemented that ensure the availability of adequate resources in our health care system to cope with the
community's demands in the future, and enable us to uphold the established policy of public health care that no one with financial difficulties will be denied proper health care.
I hope the community will understand the urgency of health care reform and reach a consensus through pragmatic discussions. Inevitably, better-off people will have to pay more for their health and medical services. However, the Government promises to share the burden under the supplementary financing arrangements. Furthermore, we will provide support to the health care service and market reform to enable those people who shoulder more burden to enjoy more choices and better services.
After the implementation of supplementary financing arrangements after consultation, no matter what the final arrangements are, I pledge to draw $50 billion from the fiscal reserves to assist the implementation of health care reform so as to help meet this major challenge to future public finances. For example, if the selected arrangement allows citizens to join a contribution scheme, I will inject this money as start-up capital for every citizen who joins the scheme. This will demonstrate the
Government's determination to share the healthcare financing burden with citizens.
This concludes my major expenditure and revenue proposals.