Parliament approves amendments to Law on Health, covers cancer treatment

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On Thursday, as part of a series of new amendments to various laws scheduled for the 2019 fall session, Parliament approved the Law on Health. The bill was approved by the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Sciences (SCSPEC) on October 15, and its results were presented by MP D.Ganbold.

He noted that the standing committee also discussed the Law on Health Insurance along with the Law on Health, and the former was rejected by the SCSPEC due to conflicting clauses, while the Law on Health was approved after minor changes to wording and composition.

During the question and answer session, lawmakers O.Batnasan and S.Erdene proposed that due to high prevalence of cancer, preventative measures such as medical examinations, and certain types of costs should be covered by health insurance, and the need to about policies on distributing better medical equipment for rural areas in Mongolia. They also voiced their concerns on training better medical professionals, and inquired about policies towards this matter.

In response, health officials stated the Ministry of Health reflects all costs associated with medical equipment, this year sees a dire need for 11 computed tomography scanners and 19 abdominal imaging devices, and their costs are currently reflected in the 2020 budget. R.Oyunkhand, the Head of Strategic Policy and Planning Department at the Ministry of Health said 80 percent of all hospital buildings were constructed before 2004, as such there is an immediate requirement to reconstruct or otherwise rebuild these clinical establishments. She continued to say that through new amendments to health insurance law, certain treatments for cancer are now covered by state insurance. In addition, Mongolian population has been divided into four categories and health insurance is covering medical examinations and various preventative measures by hospitals clinics since 2018, with a current cost of around 4.5 billion MNT.

Since 2018, new surgical and cancer centers went into operation in district hospitals, and cancer units were also established in rural Mongolia. A 39.9 billion MNT worth of medical equipment, and around 66 doctors and a similar number of nurses will require funding for additional medical expertise and education.

At the end of this question and answer session, Parliament approved new amendments to the Law on Health with 86.6 percent approval.

Afterwards, Parliament moved onto 2020 state budget, as well as budgets for social security and health insurance fund.

The proposals were introduced by Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh, who began by stating that in 2016 economic growth slowed down to 1.6, budget integrity was lost causing a number of parallel budgets, budget losses reached 15.3 percent of GDP, and government debt reached 78.8 percent of today’s GDP. He explained that all this culminated into a difficult challenge for Cabinet, and afterextensive reparative actions, economy recovered in 2018 with a growth of 7.2 percent, and is projected to grow by seven to eight percent at the end of 2019.

He went on to provide a wide range of positive economic indicators, including budget income reaching around 10.1 trillion MNT, the first time budget income reaching over 10 trillion MNT since 2010.

2020 state budget, as well as associated budgets will be approved by Parliament in the coming days.

Byambadorj Badrakh

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