Since April 1984, the national medical savings scheme mandates that every employee contributes 7% - 9.5% (depending on age group) of his monthly salary to a personal Medisave account. Compulsory savings which are allowed to be withdrawn only to pay the hospital bills of the account holder and his immediate family members. Savings which are deducted from his own hard earned wages. Semantics aside, co-payment and Medisave mean the same thing - you pay your medical bills out of your own pockets.
When Gan said that, under the new Medishield Life scam, patients' share of big hospital bills will go down from what they have to pay now, what he means is that the Medisave portion is going up. This is confirmed by the next line, where he promises "Medisave contributions will have to go up at an opportune time". This is on top of what all of us, including Han Fook Kwang the Lee Kuan Yew apologist, experienced early this year when we were advised of the hike in Medishield premiums for existing coverage plans. This bears repeating: Medisave monies come from our own pockets. Not from the national budget allocated for public health or welfare.
The same "calculating and manipulative" agenda is probably behind the snake oil from Chan Chun Sing's "Pioneer's health care 'covered for the rest of their lives'" blather. We would like to be wrong for once, but only one very old guy is enjoying the state's largess - he gets the full member of parliament allowance entitlement without rising from his comfortable bed to attend meet-the-people-sessions (MPS). The rest of us minions have limited number of days for paid medical leave.
Last year we helped a relative to apply for the use of Medisave to pay for outpatient treatment under the Chronic Disease Management Program. As in deductions from his Medisave account instead of out of cash expenditure. We were not aware, or advised of, the small print:
"The cost per transaction for each Medisave claims (sic) is $X.XX (excluding GST). This cost is not claimable from Medisave."
Translation: We have to pay for the privilege of using our own funds.