Monday, February 25, 2013

Peace Of Mind

Vowing that no Singaporeans will be denied health care because they cannot afford it, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong claims the Government will ensure there is enough money to help the needy, especially the elderly. The devil, as usual, is in the details.

Gan revealed that the Medifund's capital sum now stands at a humongous $3 billion. The actual money paid out for health care, he explained, is the income from the interest earned on this capital sum. Since we are not told how the interest is generated, it is quite safe to assume some "investment experts" are using the capital sum for monopoly money.

Medifund received $82.4 million in the last financial year, in all likelihood earned largely from taxes contributed by you and me. We are told $90.8 million was given out to patients in health care institutions, due to the 519,380 applications approved by the health authorities. We are not told how many applicants were rejected, and told to get out of their elite, uncaring faces. The really big question is why $3 billion less $90.8 million is kept aside from people who need it most. That's not all. For past two decades, Medifund has always has kept aside more money than the amount it has disbursed to health bodies - collect more, give less. Before a general election, all surplus creamed off is added to the accumulating capital sum, locked away and well beyond touch of the needy folk.

Medifund was supposed to be a financial safety net to help Singaporeans in genuine need. In theory, those who still face difficulties with hospital expenses, even after Government subsidies, Medisave and MediShield, can approach a medical social worker to help them apply for Medifund. In practice, the procedure can be quite daunting. Take Medisave for an example.

An elderly relative recently asked for assistance to apply for use of his Medisave for his monthly check up and medication at an IMH clinic. Thanks to the language barrier, the dialect speaking senior had postponed the hassle of the request for several years. The retiree had been paying for the medicals out of cash, which was swiftly depleted thanks to rising cost of living and the regressive GST. Surprised it wasn't done earlier, the doctor we presented the case to gave her approval without hesitation, as it was well within guidelines.

The next surprise was at the payment counter, when he was asked which "package" to opt for. For instance, to use Medisave for payments totalling up to $400 a year, he has to first pay out-of-pocket $101 (so-called "Package Value" $501). No ready cash, no access to Medisave. We dipped into our wallets and helped him out. After all, he was there because his cash reserve was low in the first place.

Meanwhile somebody is sitting pretty on $3 billion of cash reserves. Gan said, "We will continue to do more to provide the elderly with added peace of mind when it comes to health-care services". We weren't feeling too peaceful when leaving the clinic, our brains racked with all the permutations that the needy and elderly have been, and continue to be, short changed.


  1. "If we had an English-educated middle class to begin with in 1960 -- querulous, arguing, writing letters to the press, nit-picking, chattering away -- we would have failed."
    Lee Kuan Yew

    So is the distinguised old fart saying ...;

    a.Everybody do what PAP tells you.
    b.Give PAP 80 seats in parliament so PAP can do anything they want.
    c.Pay PAP Ministers millions in salary to motivate them and keep them honest.

    In return, PAP will;

    1.Guarantee Singapore will only flood once every 50 years?
    2.Ensure our trains will run on time and be well maintained?
    3.Make Singapore so wonderful, no Singaporean will ever want to emigrate?
    4.Will work carefully with the President to ensure that our reserves are protected and prudently invested?

    5.Keep Singapore assets safe from $2 companies?
    6.PAP will protect Singaporeans the same way our National Service men protect Singapore from foreign invasion?
    7.There will always be an affordable, operationally-ready HDB flat for any Singaporean?

    For the 60% who struck that bargain with PAP and LKY ... how's the deal with the devil working out for you in 2013?

  2. Gan said, "We will continue to do more to provide the elderly with added peace of mind when it comes to health-care services".

    I say "Vote Opposition in order to continue to do more to provide the elderly with added peace of mind when it comes to health-care services".

  3. Hey, why they don't do this for defence? I am sure that the income from interest generated from $12 billion would be more.

  4. $3 billion is bread crumbs from the Singapore reserve. The interest from $3 billion is the micro crumbs from the bread crumbs. And these are distributed to 500,000 patients. Singaporeans are really treated worse than beggars. And they have to exhaust all other monies before they can touch these micro micro crumbs.

  5. Even based on the stats revealed, out of the 90m disbursed, only 27m are for elderly which means the bulk 63m goes to young families.

    There is something really wrong with this- how come even young families need to apply for medifund? They should be young and working with kids. Even they cannot survive in this tough world? To be eligible for medifund, you and all your immediate family members must have no money whether in bank or CPF. Imagine the poverty.

    How long does our government intend to make them beg because their salaries are depressed by the failed economic and population policies of this country? Imagine what childhood the kids go through? Living from hand to mouth in this cosmopolitan country? No wonder people say you can die but cannot fall ill.

  6. It gets more sickening by the day.You will hear more of this crap this afternoon in Parliament when they present the Budget.

  7. Tattler

    Seems the complaint is more on the Medisave rather than Medifund.

    Medifund to be made more available, yes, but would raise the question if the persons who requests it persistently smokes excessively, eats unhealthy meals, and refuses to exercise, should they get such public funds?

    Medifund for young families

    Is needed especially for kids with congenital diseases "hole in the heart" or those with long term ailments resulting from such or even tragic accidents.
    Not sure why there should be gripes for those whose income is not there to receive help.

    1. //.. but would raise the question if the persons who requests it persistently smokes excessively, eats unhealthy meals, and refuses to exercise, should they get such public funds? //

      I only know "Mean testing" is already in place. You suggesting a "Behavior testing" too?

      Haven't the smoker paid enough of the "Sin taxes" for his cigarettes? Paid his price for a weak heart so he will probably have a shorter life as opposed to longer life which our govt would likely be quite pleased or they would become of the digits contributing to "silver tsunami"? Or how do you define "unhealthy food?" Does all the non-labeled Genetic modified or frankenfood sold at supermarkets considered "unhealthy"? What about those fast food outlets shouldn't we just ban them? Or at the end of the day, do we just look at the needy patients as just another human being that should be warranted compassion and dignity for their access to decent healthcare?

    2. Just don't try to be too smart. Already our healthcare spending is pathetic compare to others.
      They are already doing it to Aids patients,ie no subisidies, they die their business.
      Don't feed this Govt to include smokers,obese citizens etc in same category too. Perhaps you are suggesting the Govt to pump those annual hugh budget surpluses to TH and GIC for them to play more games

  8. The payout of between $78m and $90m amounts to between 2.5% and 3% of the $3b fund, a paltry low rate of return by any means given the string showing by Temasek and GIC, both of which claimed long term returns well in excess of 3% (Temasek said 17% per annum or thereabouts?). NTUC Fairprice has a $2b surplus fund, various town councils have hundreds of millions of "sinking funds" (maybe Dr cameraman Teo would like to clarify whether the amount lost on speculating in minibonds have been made good?), SAFRA has several billions, that actually adds up to some real money. Now who audits those funds, what standrads do they have in place to manage it, who are the investment professionals who select the fund managers who manage the funds, what criteria do they use and what risk return profile do they adopt? Lots of questions, will the vegetative layered smelly troll be kind enuf to research and provide his bosses' answers to the population?

    1. One thing for sure, it is a tough job being a credible PAPAYA troll here, agree people? I guess these trolls need more dumb readers, huh?

  9. I give a "D" grade for or health care program. The cost borne by the patient is too much. Anyway the attitude of our MIW is also "D" for "Die not my problem".

  10. Hmm, maybe the asshole surgeon can provide better solutions? Afterall he said he intends to continue serving the people? Hopefully he still remembers how a polyclinic looks like after serving all those rich indonesians in his posh Mt E clinic all these years.

  11. 96% of the applications were for out-patient bills.
    What does that tell you?
    They cannot even afford $100+ bill let alone in-patient bill by thousands?!

    IMO, a big "F" grade!

  12. "Vowing that no Singaporeans will be denied health care because they cannot afford it, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong claims"

    Devil is indeed in the details. "Cannot afford it" is subject to very stringent tests by the PAPies system. Most people including the ah peks and ah mahs, PAPies will tell them that they CAN afford it.

    In order to qualify for "cannot afford it", you must downgrade your property. If you have kids staying with you, you must downgrade to 3-rm flat. If you have no kids, you must downgrade to 2-rm flat. Then after downgrading, PAPies will say that you already got money to pay for the next 5 years. After 5 years then come back to us.

    After 5 years, in order to qualify for "cannot afford it", PAPies will force you to borrow from your immediate family first. Under S'pore law, immediate family is defined as children, siblings, parents and grandparents. You have to prove to PAPies that all of them are penniless and destitute and also living in poverty, before the PAPies finally admit that you really "cannot afford it".

    After that, your medical records and docket will be stamped "medifund recipient". This means that unless you're vomiting blood you will be low priority case and usually will be at the back of the queue. Appointments with hospitals and specialists will take 6-9 months.

    Usually most daft Sinkies will die or give up before they smell the Medifund. That's why PAPies no need to spend more than 3% of the fund. The current law also disallows the capital sum of Medifund to be used. Can only give out the interests earned or investment gains. That's why after using up most of the amount that can be given out for the financial year, the means-testing for "cannot afford it" becomes VERY STRINGENT. The last 3 months of the govt financial year from Jan to Mar is the MOST TOUGHEST to qualify for any govt help.

    1. I second that: my brother who due to business failure was declared bankrupt, had a heart attack and his wife happened to have lost here job a few months before. The hospital bill came to over $8k (not $8 in Exec suite), and he approached TTSH for assistance. They checked their database, rejected because he had 2 brothers and a sister gainfully employed and a mother -in-law staying in a 5-room HDB flat! Of course we pony up, but after years of paying taxes and all those sweet talk of medifund and "No Singaporeans will be left with no medical care" crap, you really have to wonder why one of the richest country in the world will pay $148m for foreign students/scholars a year, and reject assistance to a promising young entrepreneur.

    2. And they tell you that our current OASR is 6 Working Adults : 1 Elderly. And of that 6 WA, maybe 3 are foreign talents/PRs who are supposed to be contributing to the benefits. And you then ask "if they are not doing what the collected tax are supposed/claimed to be doing, then why the HELL do we let in so many foreign talents/PRs to begin with?!!!!!

    3. All those reasons are not the real reason. Make us wonder what is the real reason. Vote buying?

    4. Singaporeans are daft, so phase them out with FTs, improving the gene pool.

  13. All these so call 'help' do not make sense at all. They come up with so many 'creative' conning scheme to get money from the needy before even giving any help. Why must pay $101 in order to us our own CPF medisave ? It is so ridiculous.

  14. go and die in JB...2/25/2013 2:22 PM

    They said:

    ..."No Singaporeans will be left with no medical care"

    They did not say: "free medical care"

    1. Medisave is our own money. Whenever they talk about how much each patient has to pay in cash, they conveniently forget that part of money paid through medisave is still our money. But no, they just ignore this part and only tell you how much (or how little) you have to pay in cash.

  15. They want you to pay with cold, hard cash. The balance is just accounting entry in their ledger from CPF Medisave to the disappearing reserves.

  16. "We will continue to do more to provide the elderly with added peace of mind when it comes to health-care services" is a myth. They will continue to do more to take advantage of the elderly by bankrupting their cpf and medisave is the bloody truth.

  17. Vote alternative parties to dilute their power cos absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  18. GE 2016.
    Let's give PAP a "foreign" invasion in parliament.
    Let's vote in 60 Opposition MPs.

    Then the PAPigs will understand how we feel.

  19. When I told the Polyclinic cashier that I want to make use of my own Medisave to pay for my 3-monthly medicine for chlorestorol/HBP medicine, the cashier told me that I must tell the doctor to increase the medicine amount beyond the stipulated min sum in order to qualify using my Medisave monies.

    Just imagine using my own CPF Medisave, this is the kind of help one can expect from them. So what kind of obstacles they would put in place if it involves monies from Medifund?

  20. We should really ask whether all those sums of money said to be for helping the needy is really meant to be just a 'theory' formulated by the PAP as usual, while in 'practice' nothing more than a token sum is used for the purpose that it was intended. At the end of the day the usual story is that more money is necessary to be set aside just in case the wifey needs more funds for her overseas shopping spree.

    1. No, all these endowment "story must be viewed ominously as a combo of a) spinning propaganda to convince the public that givt has spent" money for social welfare when in reality b) it has been channeled to favourite fund managers such as Mr Das' funds and c) to muddle up the reserve situation by channelling huge budget surpluses all over the place making hard for people to know how much is stashed away for certain privileged folks. Alas, even the most ardent alternative supporters will not dare believe the games they play behind your backs to milk the system dry

  21. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong claims the Government will ensure there is enough money to help the needy, especially the elderly.

    Yeah right.
    Like "GST is to help the poor"

    Vote Opposition.
    To really ensure there is enough money to help the needy, especially the elderly.