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Private hospitals overcharging: 30-300 percent

The Thaiger

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Private hospitals overcharging: 30-300 percent | The Thaiger
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More than half the private hospitals operating in Thailand are overcharging for medical services and prescription drugs. Of the private hospitals alleged to be overcharging, the rates have been calculated to be 30% up to 300% over the actual production cost.

The Director General of the Internal Trade Department claims that 295 of the 353 private hospitals have submitted their production costs, and charges for medicines and services to a working group two days ago. 58 hospitals are yet to submit their information to the panel. They were required to do so by April 4 under the 1999 Prices of Goods and Services Act.

The DG says the panel studied the production costs of 10,146 items covering medicines, medical supplies and medical services and compares them with appropriate cost structures available from a variety of sources, including importers, wholesalers, big drugstores, manufacturers, the Office of Insurance Commission, the Thai Life Assurance Association, the Thai General Insurance Association and the Comptroller-General’s department.

The report, once completed, will be submitted to the Central Committee on Prices of Goods and Services, chaired by the commerce ministry, to approve the measures recommended in the report.

Hospitals accused of over-pricing will be asked to lower their charges. Otherwise the department will request patients or affected parties to file complaints about the overcharging with the department so that legal action can be taken.

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Events

900 million budget for MotoGP gets Cabinet nod

Jack Burton

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900 million budget for MotoGP gets Cabinet nod | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Golden Voice Club

The Cabinet today gave the green light (pun intended) to the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to earmark 900 million baht for MotoGP race from 2021-2025. The ministry predicts the races will generate at least 3 billion baht in revenue.

The licences for holding the motorbike races cost the government 100 million baht annually. Authorities paid 300 million for licences acquired between 2018, (when the track opened in the northeastern Buriram province) and 2020, the first of which earned huge praise – and profits.

MotoGP fans were disappointed this year though when, despite earlier assurances, the 2020 race was “postponed indefinitely” due to the Covid-19crisis.

According to the MotoGP website, the Thailand Grand Prix is still been suspended and most tournaments between July and November will be held in Europe.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai Life

Thai Cabinet approves same-sex marriage bill

Jack Burton

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Thai Cabinet approves same-sex marriage bill | The Thaiger
PHOTO Gay Star News

The Thai cabinet has today endorsed a bill allowing marriage registration of same-sex couples, as well as legal amendments to ensure same-sex couples have the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples. The bill and the amendment will now be put to a vote in the Thai parliament.

The government’s deputy spokeswoman says the new Civil Partnership Bill and the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code will “ensure fairness for people of all gender identification”. The bill defines civil partners as couples born with the same sex. Marriage registration will be available to consenting same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old. One or both must be Thai.

“The Civil Partnership Bill is a milestone for Thai society in promoting equality among people of all genders… This strengthens the families of people with sexual diversity and is appropriate for the present social circumstances.”

Minors who seek such marriage certification must have the consent of their parents, legal guardians or a court.

Spouses of civil partners will have the same legal rights as married husbands and wives, notably including with regard to personal and jointly-held property. Civil partners can adopt a child, or a partner can adopt an adoptive child of a spouse. When a partner dies, the survivor will have the same inheritance rights as conventional married couples under the Civil and Commercial Code. Sections of the code concerning married couples will also apply to civil partners.

The amended Civil and Commercial Code will prohibit a man or a woman from getting married if he or she already has a civil partner.

A man or a woman can face a divorce lawsuit if he or she treats someone else as a civil partner.

The Justice Ministry, which proposed the bill and the legal amendments, will monitor the effectiveness of the changes and plan other legal amendments to ensure compliance with those already enacted.

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Expats

What will happen to foreigners with expired visas after July 31?

The Thaiger

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What will happen to foreigners with expired visas after July 31? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PinoyThaiyo

Before you read further, seeking a definitive answer, we don’t have one.

But stranded foreigners, who have been able to stay in Thailand via a visa amnesty, have an approaching D-Day – July 31, 2020. This is the sunset of the current amnesty for foreigners who have, through no fault of their own, been stuck in Thailand whilst the borders have been closed. Whilst sitting out the Covid-19 outbreak in the pleasant Thai sunshine, the clock is ticking and the end of the amnesty is in sight.

Whilst there are now a few opportunities for foreigners to leave or return to Thailand, most are still unable either due to a lack of flights or closed borders in their home countries. At the time when the amnesty was announced, and the July 31 date set, it was hoped that the world would have opened back up. Whilst Thailand has largely got its Covid-19 house in order, much of the rest of the world is still battling through its first phase of the disease or coping with isolated spikes in new cases.

Thailand’s land borders with Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos also remain officially closed to all foreigners unless they have permanent residency or permission from the Thai government to re-enter.

Even early talk of possible travel bubbles with a bespoke handful of low-risk countries appears to be on hold for now as Thailand continues to repatriate citizens and allow its first foreigners in under special conditions. Certainly the process of re-opening Thailand’s borders is not going to allow all stranded foreigners to magically return home before July 31.

Now Thai immigration officials are battling with other government departments about how to deal with the tens of thousands of affected visitors who have been able to remain in Thailand until the end of July. It’s a complex situation where individuals will have varying situations for Immigration to sort out. Even a quick trip across a land border to re-new a visa is unlikely under the current situation.

The existing amnesty allowed foreigners to remain in Thailand without any new paperwork, payments or additional reporting.

So what will happen to foreigners whose visas are long expired, after July 31?

The prospect of madness at Thai Immigration offices on August 1 is surely something on Thai Immigration officials’ minds at the moment. Even the need to do 90 reporting has been put on hold until July 31, another possible headache for August 1.

An extension of the amnesty is likely but the current situation leaves tens of thousands of foreigners ‘untracked’, an anathema to Thai Immigration who have always made tracking of foreigners a hallmark of policy.

Short of actually expelling foreigners with expired visas, there will have to be some sort of system to either extend the current amnesty or find a way for foreigners to report their location, and possibly having to pay for another extension. Actually communicating any decision to affected foreigners will be a herculean task too.

With much of the visas processed by shuffling paper around busy offices, land checkpoints and airports, the actual tracking of the foreigners left in Thailand will be difficult.

Expect a decision in the next few weeks, and expect some sort of extension. But also expect that the gracious generosity of your hosts will not last forever. All foreigners with expired visas would be well advised to gather information about flights out of Thailand and to make contact with their country’s Embassies and Consulates in Thailand to register their current whereabouts and keep track of the situation.

The Thaiger would warmly suggest that foreigners become aware of their options as the end of the current amnesty draws closer.

For locals, required to do 90 day reporting, it would also be advisable to visit your local immigration office before July 31, or report online (if you’ve registered), to avoid a crush on August 1.

The Thaiger will continue to follow this important story and report any formal announcements from Thai Immigration.

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