"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?