Workers oppose JKN for Bali

Scores of workers from the National Front for Indonesian Workers’ Struggles Bali chapter have firmly opposed the implementation of the national health insurance (JKN) program on the island. They claim the program will only burden workers with the cost of its premiums and are demanding the Bali administration keep the old JKBM healthcare program running on the island, not integrate it with JKN. “The JKBM program has given all Bali’s residents a free healthcare program.

Through the JKN program, we will go backward as we would have to pay the premiums. Bali should keep the JKBM program and never integrate its successful program with JKN,” Ihsan Tantowi, chairman of the workers’ association said at a meeting with the Bali Legislative Council in Denpasar, Wednesday. JKBM is the acronym for the Bali Mandara free healthcare program, a program initiated by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika in 2009.

The program covers all registered residents of the island, except for civil servants, the military and police, who are already covered by the government insurance program Askes. Tantowi said that the JKBM program was far better than the JKN program, as JKN obliged all Indonesian citizens, except the poor, to pay their own insurance premium. “We have already enjoyed the free healthcare program JKBM in Bali. The JKN program will only burden people in Bali,” he said.

The national health insurance program has been implemented nationwide since Jan. 1 this year. More than 1.41 million Bali residents have been included in the JKN program, consisting of civil servants, the military, police and the poor. They have access to 365 community health centers (puskesmas) and 29 hospitals. Meanwhile, another 2.8 million Bali residents are still covered by JKBM. Under the JKN program, the total premium to be paid to the Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) is 5 percent of total income per month.

Four percent of the premium should be paid by the employer, while 1 percent should be paid by the employee. Until July this year, BPJS is providing a premium discount to employees, who only pay 0.5 percent. For freelance workers, the premium is Rp 25,500 (US$2.10) per month for third-class hospital services, Rp 42,500 for second-class hospital services, and Rp 59,500 for first-class hospital services.

“If all residents are obliged to pay the premium for their healthcare, what is the role of the government in providing social security for citizens?” Tantowi questioned. “Governor Pastika pledged to give free health care to all residents during his campaign in the gubernatorial election. Now, he should keep his promise by keeping JKBM running with many improvements,” he said. JKBM top official I Gusti Ayu Putri Mahadewi said that the Bali administration was now integrating the JKBM and JKN programs.

However, she admitted that the administration had yet to decide how to best to proceed. “We are still carefully considering strategies to integrate both programs. We understand that the integration could affect the community. So we are trying to find the best way,” she said. Mahadewi said that the administration would coordinate with the regional administration for the integration, as the JKBM program runs on a shared budget between the provincial and regional administrations.

She added that there were three alternative strategies that could be taken: an increase in the budget to cover all residents’ premiums for JKN; stratification of residents who deserve to be covered by the government budget; or let residents pay their own premium. “We need a lot of money to cover all residents for the JKN program and we are not sure that the provincial and regional administrations could cover it. But are we yet to decide anything,” she added.

Total funds allocated to the JKBM program this year amount to Rp 334 billion, higher than Rp 280 billion in 2013 and Rp 235 billion in 2012. The funds are allocated jointly from the island’s provincial, regional and municipal administrations’ budgets. With the JKN scheme, it is predicted that the minimum funds needed to cover all 2.8 million residents with third class hospital services would be Rp 856 billion a year.

The secretary of commission IV for health and education at the Bali Legislative Council, Utami Dwi Suryadi, said that many people did not yet understand the JKN program. “The JKN program is actually good. It is only needs more publicizing, many people are yet to understand the program,” she said.

source : bali dialy

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