President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday that all private hospitals would be required to admit and serve residents holding national health cards in the future, adding that their licenses will be revoked should they not comply.
Jokowi paid a visit to Temuwangi village in Klaten, Central Java, to distribute the Indonesia Health Card (KIS) under national health insurance (JKN), as well as the Indonesia Smart Card (KIP) and the Prosperous Family Card (KKS), to local residents on Monday.
"If [they] reject [KIS holders], their licenses will be revoked," said Jokowi in his speech as quoted on the Cabinet Secretariat website.
The President also reminded those hospitals under the programme - both state-owned and private hospitals - to be able to provide their best services to KIS holders.
"If there is a KIS holder who feels not treated well by the hospital, please file a report," Jokowi added.
The JKN programme is the government's attempt to bring universal health care to all citizens.
Under the management of the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan), the programme has unified health insurance plans for civil servants, employees, military officers as well as the poor.
The agency covers over 140 million members and is expected to continue growing as the government has tried to reach more poor people and those working in the informal sector.
The KIS card, previously known as Jamkesmas, is the part of the JKN programme in which the government pays premiums for poor families.
Despite the programme's popularity, many members are still reporting being rejected from hospitals, especially those holding Jamkesmas or KIS cards.
During a recent visit to a working-class neighborhood in Cilincing, North Jakarta, Jokowi made a similar remark.
At that time, he said he would bring an end to the practice of private hospitals turning down patients in critical condition, adding that he would force all private hospitals to treat patients insured by the programme.
On Monday, Jokowi also reminded the residents to use the KIS and two other cards wisely since they were funded by the state.
The government has yet to formally oblige private hospitals to take patients under the BPJS programme.
But there has been a plan to revise a presidential decree on health insurance, in which all public and private hospitals are required to take patients under the JKN programme.
Ali Mahir, a member of the House of Representatives' Commission IX overseeing health, supported the plan.
"We agree with the government's plan to revise the regulation," said the Nasdem party politician as quoted by dpr.go.id.
He said that of a total of 2,400 hospitals, 1,800 hospitals have participated in the JKN.
During the visit to Klaten, Jokowi was accompanied by several ministers and officials, for example Health Minister Nila Moeloek and Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, as well as BPJS Kesehatan director Fahmi Idris.
BPJS Kesehatan has recently said that the soaring number of new registrees in the national healthcare programme was exacerbating its financial difficulties, caused by a high volume of claims made by existing insurance beneficiaries.
The agency said many patients did not register for the healthcare programme until they were sick, when instructed to by hospitals.
In 2014, the deficit stood at Rp 1.54 trillion, with Rp 42.6 trillion paid out in claims and Rp 41.06 trillion received in premium payments, the agency reported.
The agency proposed increasing subscriber premiums due to the deficit between the claims it had paid and the premiums it had received, a condition it deemed as threatening to the sustainability of the programme.