Overall there are about 37,340,000 Thais of working age, divided into: 1) about 2,842,000 government officials, or 7.6% of the total workforce; 2) about 10,940,000 private company employees (29.3%); and 3) about 21,300,000 workers in the non-formal sector (57%), of whom only 3,900,000 or 18.3% are in the social security system.
Today (25 December) Artiwara Kongmalai or “Toon Bodyslam” is scheduled to finish his charity run from Yala to Chiang Rai to raise money for public hospitals. The run has exceeded its goal; it has received over 1,000 million baht. However, Thailand’s healthcare is a structural problem that needs a sustainable solution. Still, the charity run has raised a debate on healthcare funding in the face of an anticipated budget cut under the junta government.
Even more rock stars running charity marathons to seek donations for hospitals would not solve the structural problems of the nation’s healthcare system, which is under threat from the current military government.
A healthcare expert has voiced opposition to the proposal to separate the salaries of public health personnel from the total public healthcare budget, warning that it could result in serious inequality in health care. On 12 July 2017, Winai Swasdiworn, former Secretary-General of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), publically warned of the danger in separating the salaries of public health personnel from the total budget for national universal healthcare, aka the ‘Gold Card Scheme’.
While taking credit internationally for the country’s healthcare scheme, the Thai junta has begun the process of amending the law which could put at risk the health of millions of Thais who rely on public health coverage.
Police officers and soldiers have barred villagers from joining a march in Bangkok protesting amendment to the National Health Security Act. On 6 June 2017, the People's Health Systems Movement (PHSM) staged a protest at the office of the United Nations in Bangkok demanding the junta cease efforts to amend the National Health Security Act that threaten to abolish Thailand’s universal healthcare, also known as the "Gold Card" m
The organisation responsible for Thailand’s universal health care system is facing budget cuts of 13 billion baht as the junta struggles to manage its finances. On 6 February 2017, the board of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) met to review issues in its projected budget for 2018.
People with disabilities have urged Thai authorities not to reduce the health coverage they receive when employed. Dr. Yot Teerawattananon, Director of Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), on Saturday, 20 August 2016, expressed concerns about recent changes to the government’s health coverage scheme for people with disabilities. The reforms transfer people with disabilities from universal health coverage to a social security scheme when they successfully find employment.
The junta is attempting to abandon the universal healthcare scheme, one of the most acclaimed policies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and replace it with a co-payment system. Analysts say under the draft constitution, healthcare will be no longer a state obligation, but state assistance to the poor. Amid news that the junta plans to reduce the budget for the universal healthcare scheme, formerly known as 30-baht policy, and ultimately abolish it, the equal right to healthcare has been removed from the draft constitution.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has included more than half a million more people in the free public healthcare system as of October 2015. According to Post Today News, Surapong Kongchantuk, Chair of the Lawyers Council of Thailand's Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, the Stateless, Migrant Workers and the Displaced, revealed on Thursday, 1 October 2015, that 626,027 more people will now be able to enjoy the same free public healthcare that all Thai citizens are entitled to.