“In my recent bypass surgery, my hospital bill was largely paid by MediShield and a private Shield supplement. Medisave took care of my co-payment of the bill. My out-of-pocket expense for the hospital bill was $8 only; yes, no typo here.”
Then the press picked it up and went to town with the Minister's boast about affordability of health care in Singapore:
Naturally, many were skeptical about Khaw's claims. He did not provide further details, or a copy of his hospital bill. One blogger even attempted to work out the math. If he knew of any health insurance schemes that would be helpful for Singaporeans to arrive at similar low out-of-pocket expenditures, he wasn't about to share it. Not yet.
Days before polling day, May 7, Khaw suddenly decides to provide fresh information (just like Vivian Balakrishnan's revelations about the YOG budget). Mr Khaw clarified what he described as lies over his medical bill, that his heart bypass operation last year cost him only S$8. Khaw revealed that his total bill for a week's stay in an a Class A ward came up S$25,000. He said the "bulk" of this was paid for by MediShield and Medisave, but he did not say exactly how much. There's reason for him to keep the cards close to his heart.
During the last general election, Sylvia Lim spoke strongly against the introduction of the Means Test. Sensing public sentiment was also against the scheme, Minister Khaw shelved it. Then, after the PAP was returned to power, the Government quietly implemented the system with minimum of publicity. Many learnt of it only when presented with a hospital bill.
Khaw has a civil service card, meaning he is entitled to free medical treatment and special discounts on hospital services. He is not about to tell you that his privileges are unaffected by the Means Test, despite his multi-million dollar salary. Stop dreaming that you too can have a $8 bypass operation in Singapore.
|Membership has its privileges|