Healthcare reforms are part of President Ilham Aliyev`s modernization and renovation policy
The following is excerpts from the interview of Ali Ahmadov, deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party, to Azerbaijan newspaper.
Q: Compulsory medical insurance has become one of the topical issues recently. What is the state of affairs on this front?
A: The implementation of compulsory medical insurance in Azerbaijan is planned within the health care reform framework. Like in most countries, in our country too, the application of compulsory medical insurance has been accepted as a positive step.
The society believes that transition to compulsory medical insurance will be the most effective step towards improving the quality of healthcare services. Reforms are carried out in all areas in Azerbaijan. The living standard is being improved. All this requires high-quality healthcare services.
The necessity of shifting to compulsory medical insurance was stipulated in the Law on Medical Insurance of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Serious reforms have been carried out in this sphere. First of all, I would like to note the modernization of eth healthcare infrastructure. State-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics are being built and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Health indicators of the population have improved, child mortality has decreased, and average living age increased.
Transition to new system in healthcare has become an objective requirement
I would like to emphasize the significance of the fact that highly-skilled doctors, who received education in different parts of the world, are returning to Azerbaijan. They are capable of improving the quality of healthcare in Azerbaijan and make a great contribution to the reforms in this area.
It should be noted that the entire society already realizes the inevitability of transition to compulsory medical insurance.
At the current stage, work is continuing to learn the best foreign experience with regard to transition to compulsory medical insurance, and prepare relevant documentation.
We are implementing joint projects with the World Bank, which is of great help for us. I can say that Azerbaijan`s healthcare system is very close to transiting to compulsory medical insurance.
But it would not be right to think that this transition would be easy and can be conducted in a short period of time. We should realize that serious reforms need to be carried out to achieve this goal.
Transition to compulsory medical insurance will change the philosophy of healthcare services
Q: What changes will transition to compulsory medical insurance bring about?
A: Transition to compulsory medical insurance will change the philosophy of healthcare services. Proper provision of quality healthcare to citizens, the financing of the healthcare system in a proper manner is the key priority for the Azerbaijani government. And the application of compulsory medical insurance is considered one of the most effective ways of improving the quality of healthcare system.
Compulsory medical insurance is a different form of healthcare financing, where a healthcare facility sells its services, and the compulsory insurance system buys these services for citizens.
Under current conditions, healthcare facilities receive budget funding and a re obliged to provide all services to the population. But there is a wrong opinion that they provide health services to people for free. But they forget that they receive budget funding, which is given them for the services they provide to citizens.
Compulsory medical insurance is first and foremost aimed at solving this kind of problems. The system will allow citizens to demand the provision of quality healthcare services for what they pay to insurance system.
Doctors will receive their salary for what they do. The principles of financing healthcare facilities will also change. This will inevitably pave the way for the sound competition both among medical workers and healthcare facilities.
Some 3-3.5 million people will be freed from paying compulsory medical insurance fee
Q: Will there be any changes in the sources of the funding?
A: The increase in the state budget positively affects the health budget of the country. The budget spending is rising every year. We have an established network of private healthcare facilities.
The application of compulsory medical insurance system will inevitably increase the budget spending for healthcare system. The improvement of healthcare services necessitates finding new sources of financing. Compulsory medical insurance can be considered an additional source of funding. One of the important points here is that employers will bear the responsibility for paying compulsory medical insurance fees of their employees.
Compulsory medical insurance is a type of social insurance, where relations are built on the basis of solidarity. Part of the healthcare budget spending will be directed to financing compulsory medical insurance system.
I would like to emphasize one point. Children, pensioners, disabled people will be freed from compulsory medical insurance fees. This means between 3-3.5 million people.
New reforms means application of a new method in healthcare financing and governance
Q: What other reforms will transition to compulsory medical insurance system encourage?
A: I would like to underline two points. The first is that reforms are being carried out in healthcare system. This is a continuous process. The second is that transition to compulsory medical insurance is the most remarkable reform in the healthcare system. This means not only a new method of funding, but also a new method of governance.
Thanks to great attention of the Azerbaijani government the healthcare infrastructure is being improved and modernized.