Lee Hsien Loong broad-brushed the much anticipated financial support for "senior citizens" in three important areas:
- 1) Premium subsidy for MediShield Life;
- 2) Extra subsidies for outpatient treatment at polyclinics, specialist outpatient clinics and general practitioners (GPs) under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS);
- 3) Annual top-ups to Medisave accounts, which can be used to help pay for MediShield Life premiums (needed probably because the "premium subsidy" in (1) won't be enough to offset the voracious hike in insurance premiums).
Playing with words again, Lee insists that the package is not just a subsidy, but a means to help the pioneer generation live better in their old age. By any world standard chronological consideration, age 28 is hardly pioneer generation status, so we worry what are the "extra subsidies" for outpatient treatment. Will they mark up the health care charges, and then tag a "discount" to the inflated rates? That was the accounting trick employed by TT Durai at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to generate fat profits out of "subsidised" medication for umpteen years.
"No matter how we design the package, it can never fully reflect the contributions our pioneers have made to our nation. But I hope you will accept it as a sincere expression of our gratitude, and that it will be of help to you and your families," Lee said to the 1,000+ "Singaporeans" attending the Pioneer Generation Tribute Party at the Istana on Sunday morning.
We are told the actual details of the Pioneer Generation Package will be formally unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the upcoming Budget. They probably need the extra time to come up with more ingenious definitions of "Singaporeans", "contributions", "nation", "sincere", "gratitude" and "help". What the electorate really need is a dictionary to decipher the coded deceit they are lining their slippery tongues with.