2023 healthcare budget of 207 billion baht proposed including Covid-19

PHOTO: The NHSO proposes a 207 billion baht healthcare budget for 2023. (via Thai PRD)

In order to add Covid-19 testing and treatment to the benefits of universal healthcare in Thailand for 2023, the National Health Security Office is requesting a 207 billion baht budget. Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul chaired a meeting on Thursday of the NHSO which came up with the figure to request to include funding for Covid-19.

The budget for the 2023 fiscal year is scheduled to cover upgrades to the services of the universal healthcare scheme as well as medical innovation, a telemedicine programme, and the promotion of medical cannabis. It also budgets for the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation to obtain vaccines, medicines and medical supplies.

26 additional healthcare benefits are slated to be announced next year as part of the budget as well. The budget follows the work plans and framework the government established and looks at inflation as well as increased costs and wages related to healthcare as well as the past performance of agencies.

The National Health Security Fund would receive 145.2 billion baht under the proposed budget while 61.8 billion would be allocated to pay the cost of salaries. HIV and AIDS treatment, chronic disease prevention and treatment, chronic renal failure, and healthcare services for patients who are bedridden will all be covered in the universal healthcare scheme budget.

The budget also plans to cover the costs of Covid-19 becoming an endemic disease like the flu that will be present for the foreseeable future. 1.35 billion baht is budgeted for Covid-19 in the proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which includes money not just for testing and treatment of the virus, but also for compensation for those who are negatively affected by Covid-19 vaccines and suffer debilitating side effects or death.

The budget for the GPO to purchase and import vaccines, artificial organs, medical supplies and drugs will be increased by 4.2% over the 2022 fiscal budget to 14.7 billion baht. The NHSO has also made backup plans of what to drop and what to prioritise should the proposal be subjected to budget cuts.

The proposed budget of 207 billion baht is a jump of about 4.6% over the approved budget for 2022. The budgets for the last several years:

  • 2023 – 207 billion baht (proposed)
  • 2022 – 198 billion baht (approved)
  • 2021 – 204.8 billion baht
  • 2020 – 201.9 billion baht

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.