Thursday, March 8, 2012

Affordable Health Care On The Rise

"Health Care 2020 will ensure that Singaporeans always have access to good quality and affordable health care. After all this is integral to an inclusive society," sang Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, introducing a new twist to the a capella of affordability as defined in Singapore Inc. We saw how that plays out in the $1,000-a-month can buy a $100,000 flat fantasy.

What Gan failed to expand was that the "inclusive society" refers only to those who can afford to pay the higher Medishield premiums he is rolling out. Specifically, a 45-year old, who now pays $144 a year, may have to pay $84 more, while a 75-year old who's current premium is $462 may have to pay $240 more a year. These hikes of more than 50% kick in at a period when these folks are in the evening years, probably unable to work, retired, and most definitely without a source of income. Those familiar with insurance coverage know only too well what a missed premium means - all bets are off, regardless of the previous payments made on time dutifully during the past umpteen years.

Gerald Giam, careful to keep a dry eye in case some BG makes fun of his propensity to tear up when thinking of the unfortunates, urged the minister to reconsider the increase since Medishield still had enough reserves to meet the higher payouts. Nope, what the minister, talking like a bank manager, wanted was fresh funds. The reserves in the Medishield, according to him, are meant to offset the premiums when they are older and not working, implying that the 45- and 75-year olds are not old enough, and should really get off their lazy bums and go look for a job. So that's why then Presidential candidate Dr Tony Tan said in August 2011 that if elected, he hoped to raise the age limit for taxi drivers to 75 years old....

Gan ended his song-and-dance on the note, "We want to avoid the pitfall of countries where health care is virtually free, resulting in a insatiable demand from patients". Maybe the minister can show us who likes to be sick, and actually enjoys partaking of medication?


  1. "We want to avoid the pitfall of countries where health care is virtually free, resulting in a insatiable demand from patients".

    I guess this guy also wants to make sure he gets full value for his personal accident insurance policy too?

  2. As usual, the daft 60.1% will buy into the inclusiveness BS. Those who have exhausted their funds and unable to pay for healthcare or medishield will be shipped to JB or Batam for corralling and medical treatment that is cheaper than our subsidised rates.
    They will have high spending on defence because they resolutely need to protect what they own; you get sick, your business and can die if you cannot pay. They don't owe you for protecting what they own.

  3. Still don't see the government making a greater effort in our healthcare. Compared with other developed Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan, out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare by patients by patients in Singapore is much higher. As our society ages, it is the government rather than the individual, that is better positioned to reap the benefits of risk-pooling in healthcare.

    This Government Is Hopelessly Unkind!

  4. Polyclinic doctor3/08/2012 12:31 PM

    "We want to avoid the pitfall of countries where health care is virtually free, resulting in a insatiable demand from patients".

    Dear Tattler, I doubt anyone wants to be sick. However, there are many people who want medicines & services even when they are not sick. Let me explain. I am a polyclinic doctor. Everyday, I get quite a few requests for all sorts of medicines in quantities that patients do not need but ask for because it is free. Free because they are either on the old civil service pension scheme where everything is free or on full medical benefits. Examples of free medicines in unnecessary quantities include 3 bottles of cough mixtures, 100 tablets of paracetamol, 6 bottles of eye drops, 2 bottles of shampoo, 4 tubes of moisturizing cream, vitamins, etc ... repeated every few months. If things are given for $0, kiasu people will grab as much as they can. Then come requests for medical services - are you prepared to pay for someone who wants a "full body check up" by a specialist even though nothing is wrong? We get quite a few of these requests. Guess where the money for such "free services" are coming from?

    1. I agree with you fully about those disgusting civil servant types with their life-long full medical benefits. It's time to do away with these pension blood suckers and their entitlements.
      I think Tattler was referring to those with kidney failure, high blood pressure, chemotherapy and other ailments which require high priced treatments. Would you be jumping for joy if you were told you require regular dialysis? Even if it's medication for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, no one in his serious mind would like to have a life's supply, even for free.
      BTW next time one of those guys ask for 100 tablets of paracetamol, ask them to take them all at once.

    2. Dear doctor, when we ask for more cough mixtures, paracetamol, eye drops, cream and vitamins, do you think we are setting up a pharmacy outside? Who would want to risk their health by taking more pills than is needed? The reason we asked for more is because we can make less trip to the polyclinic. If we can self-medicate for some of the common ailments, it saves everyone's time. I hope you don't think we are abusing the system.

    3. your answer confirms this fact - that the poor are subsidizing the rich civil servants on full/free pensions, and squeezing them out to the corridors and sometimes out of their c class wards as is already happening now with the crunch.

  5. Dear polyclinic doctor.
    It's good that you are so cost conscious.

    I hope your medical ability matches your drive to save money.

    My elderly cousin fell and fractured his leg.
    Went to polyclinic.
    Was given panadol but no x-ray.
    Polyclinic doctor felt that it was just a bruise.
    Save money, so no x-ray lor.
    He collapsed a few days later while walking.
    Had to be transported to the A&E by ambulance.
    The hospital did the x-ray and found the fracture.

    If you want to save money.
    Be an accountant.
    Go ask Minister Lui why he is giving $1.1 billion dollars to profitable, private bus companies to buy buses.
    Penny-wise, Pound foolish.

    I don't think;
    3 bottles of cough mixtures,
    100 tablets of paracetamol,
    6 bottles of eye drops,
    2 bottles of shampoo,
    4 tubes of moisturizing cream
    is too much for a few months supply.

    Have you heard of preventive medicine?
    It's cheaper than curative medicine.

    Have you tried queueing at a polyclinic to make an appointment to see a doctor?
    Try that when you are old and have to move around in a wheelchair to see the doctor every month.
    Because some idiot doctor refuses to give you 3 months supply of some cheap medication that was your entitlement anyway.

    A few exaggerated & isolated incidents;
    Is this how we formulate national health policy?

    1. /// A few exaggerated & isolated incidents;
      Is this how we formulate national health policy? ///

      Sadly, that seems to be the only way other national ploicies are also formulated, HDB's policies certainly jump to mind!

  6. I get very very worried when they mention the word "affordable", because I see with my own eyes how "affordable" HDB housing has created a few generations of Singaporeans with so little CPF left they cannot retire, and forced to continue working till they drop ! Can please be clearer what you mean by affordable health care Mr Gan ?

  7. Affordable means : -
    Lower class go to JB or Batam
    Middle class go to BKK or Local Restructured hospital or Poly
    Higher class on CS on pension go to Private Hospitals/Clinics for free med
    Foreigners all join higher class or YOG to get first class treatment.

    Got it?

  8. Our Healthcare and beds crunching situation is just like our

    Airport / Babies/population / Transport / HDB /Education

    All the scholar planners have this constant Underplanning DNA.
    And then their lack of planning will suddenly become an emergencies on our (nation) part that they try to ramp it down your throat. Everything except Defense - 25% just right after UAE and you wonder why?

  9. When I read that Gan Kim Yong said that Medishield premium would rise by $7 a month, I knew that a sales pitch is on. The annual premium works out to almost double the current one. That's how the banks sell insurance - "for only xxx $ a day" which works out to hundeds and thousands a year.

    1. Nothing wrong with breaking it down in simplified terms for people to understand or make it more palatable. But at the end of day, still can't answer - where do they expect these older people to get the extra money for premiums? Ah yes, the children. Just pass on the bucks..

  10. The only thing that is rising is my blood level!

  11. "We want to avoid the pitfall of countries where health care is virtually free, resulting in a insatiable demand from patients".

    The same argument can be used against helping the poor and providing social services etc that cost government money. In the meantime, the country reserve grows by leaps and bounds...

  12. The pappies are enforcing all the bad habits from developed countries - Cost of living from Japan, Housing from Hong Kong and Medical Coverage from America.

    Thanks a lot Pappies!

    1. Sharp observations, dude!

  13. Looks like 3 words sums up what our PAP govt has been doing all these years "Fucked-up Big Time".
    They seems to have lost their human touch and everything they are doing now is either a wayang or a farce.

    What is the use of having an affordable healthcare if your queue for the next follow up appointment before your scheduled surgery is another 2 or 3 months ? Meaning if one can't afford to wait as a subsidised patient, one can go and die first ?

    Remember LKY can't even let his wife wait for 24 hours, how can our govt allow our subsidised patients in public hospitals wait 2 to 3 months ? And how is it that the minute one agrees to pay as a private patient, the queue suddenly can be shortened by several weeks ?

    1. Money talks.

    2. Another way to shorten the queue for affordable healthcare.

      Vote Opposition in GE 2016.
      The life of your family members may depend on it.

      Get your friends and family to vote also.

      Let's have an inclusive healthcare system in 2017.
      Just like the inclusive budget in 2012.
      After GE 2011.

  14. Increased premium go to the pocket of Gahmen related Insurance agencies,NTUC Income and Great Eastern.They have more revenue than payment out.To claim Medishield payment NTUC income have certain limit of amount and clauses that they will compensate to their clients.Most cases you can hardly get reimburesment from them.

  15. I want to take an insurance policy. Pls give details about What is Accident Insurance Policy? pls mail me.....