When they say purse strings will be loosened further to help people, they conveniently omit the tightening of the noose around those struggling to cope. Yay, the $30 deductible patients must pay for usage of Medisave for chronic treatments is waived - yes, Virginia, Singaporeans have to pay extra to access their own hard earned money - but the 15 percent co-payment remains. No cash in your pockets? Forget about those "generous" subsidies being touted in the Budget.
Watch the small print. People can use up to $300 a year for non-cancer-related scans for outpatient diagnosis. But the $300 cannot be used to cover the payment for cancer scans beyond the $600 cap. It's a double whammy if the non-cancer-related scan spots a nasty looking tumour. From next year, older people can withdraw up to $200 more a year from Medisave for outpatient payment, except details about who and what qualifies have yet to be worked out. In this instance, this small print is not even available.
Somewhere else in print is the news that more than 4,000 doctors and dentists in the public sector will be rewarded with a 9 percent pay increase. That's about 4,150 votes for the incumbents. That should help maintain Singapore's reputation as the most expensive city on planet earth. That should also help keep health care costs affordable.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said the ability to attract talent with cash is the key to success in upscaling our health care capacity, such as clever usage of tented facilities charged at normal hospital ward rates. The Old Man tried that move, and we get to see the types that sneak into parliament.
Quote of the day from Low Thia Khiang, on subject of hospital bed crunch and other class act stumbles: "One certainly hopes that Singapore does not make history by going from Third World to First, and back to Third within one generation."