EghtesadOnline: There is no option but to go ahead with Health Reform Plan since its popularity rate among Iranian people hovers around 85% and the country’s top officials won’t allow its revocation, a deputy health minister said.
“The reforms helped reduce people’s share of healthcare payments by 16.8% annually, which equals 210,000 rials ($5.3) per month for a household. Currently, 2.32% of Iranians are saddled with crushing health expenses that should be reduced to 1% based on the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22),” Iraj Harirchi was also quoted as saying by Dolat.ir.
In 2014, HRP, which embodied a series of reforms, was launched by President Hassan Rouhani. It included different interventions to increase the coverage of basic health insurance, increase quality of healthcare in government-affiliated hospitals, reduce out-of-pocket payments for inpatient services, launch clinical services and make tariffs reasonable.
The Health Reform Plan came as a groundbreaking move to reshape Iran’s health sector after it had been grounded under harsh international sanctions in 2010. However, there are concerns about the program’s financial and healthcare sustainability, Financial Tribune reported.
HRP was implemented at a time when international sanctions against Iran were at their peak, hard pressing the government whose main source of income was oil export.
Later, when sanctions were lifted following Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, a huge plunge in oil prices followed, giving the Iranian government little relief through oil revenues.
Just before HRP was introduced, the government had allocated 160,000 rials (about $4.8) as health subsidy via the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare’s Social Security Organization for each patient to insurance companies.
However, HRP authorized 320,000 rials (about $9.7) for each insured person. Shortage of resources made the government indebted to the health sector.