Friday, May 6, 2011

Reprise Of The $8 Heart Bypass

It all started with this blog entry by Khaw Boon Wan:
“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


  1. I'm glad you are not cooling off.

    Keep blogging right through to the 8th of May. I suspect the sought after changes will break through in 2016. Tomorrow will signal the beginning.

  2. $8 is less than peanuts to them. But it is a lot to us! It can buy at least 3 decent meals at the hawker center for a day, especially if we are out of a job and seeking employment.

  3. By this sunday morning, Khaw will know for sure whether his $8 heart bypass was cheap and good, reliable under extreme emotions.

    In fact, Khaw should anticipate the possibility of our aged forecaster and woody needing a bypass before the sunday morning is over, and being more senior, will be ahead of him in the queue.

  4. Is Khaw telling us that all singaporeans can get a by-pass for S$8 ? i give u S$800, the rest as tips from me.
    i grew up in a 1.5 room rental flat in beach road, with my parents and 3 brothers. Life was hard, my father was the only income earner, as a taxi driver. he worked 365 days a year, every year, for as long as i can remember. i had loan sharks visiting us in the night to send their greetings.
    i went to NUS, just an average student, with the burning desire to break the poverty cycle. i now have a good job, but i cannot say the same for everyone.
    i received a cheap and affordable education, a 40k yishun hdb 20 years ago, i am grateful.
    but things have changed. if i were born 10-20 years later, i would never have made it.
    i ask myself this honest question "What type of Singapore do i want to leave behind for my child ?" NOT the one what i have now.

  5. Our PAP Health Minister can boast anything but the real facts of medical care for us ordinary citizens are so much differrent.

    For example, the CT Scan medical examination carried out @ SGH alone will cost a patient S$117.70 per scan. And this exclude the doctor's consultation fee which is charged separately. And for this service unlike other medical services, one is required to pay upfront in cash first even before they carry out the scan for you. Absolutely no subsidy, no CPF medisave is allowed.

    Why is it so, I don't know and nobody can really give any answers. Maybe our Health Minister will care to explain why ?

  6. Thanks for sharing this, keep posting

  7. Coronary artery bypass surgery, called CABG or "cabbage" for short, is a type of cardiothoracic surgery, or chest surgery, which reroutes - or bypasses - the flow of blood around arteries which are clogged. Heart bypass hospitals in Germany

  8. I broke my arm in an accident, and to my horror, medishield contribute not a single cent to my consultation, surgery, physio.......

    And i am still paying 30-50 per visit now for consultation on my arm and physio.....

    The hospital gladly told you this, medishield most often than none, do not provide and coverage!!!!

    I feel cheated! if medishield dont provide any form of shield at all, why is the government promoting it to all singaporean and residents here????????????

  9. i had a serious back injury in late dec. My appointment with the specialist in nuh (probably a foreign talent Burmese) is in march, 2.5 months later... If I were to wait for the public hospital, i would probably have broken my back by now or may have permanent back ache going forward. Even if you are on time in your appointment and the first appointment of the day, u will need to wait at least an hour too!! Basically our ivory tower, paper generals gah men are telling us if u have money, go private...if no money... just wait lor... of course there are $8 surgeries... u just have to wait long long lah...u will definitely die first before your turn

  10. isn't Medisave and medishield can only be claim for ward b2/C only?

  11. I thought that he got a discount because he was part of the PAP!