Thursday, November 01, 2007

PM Lee : Now means testing to help the poor....

Remember when PM Lee announced the GST hike, he said it was to help the poor. Nobody could figure how taxing the poor more will help them, like I explained it will help the poor and old contribute to the PAP govt.

Now the govt says that means testing is meant to help the poor. See how caring this govt is, it is always helping the poor. The poor who are now already entitled to class "C" ward will still be getting class "C" ward when means testing is in place so how does means testing help them? Means testing helps the poor by making the middle class pay more for their medical care and denying the middle class subsidies when they are sick. Yes, the govt is again helping the poor by impoverishing the middle class when they are sick. I guess this will help to close the income gap by making the middle income poorer in their time of sicknes and need. So they are helping the poor not by giving them more subsidy but by denying the middle income folks their subsidy.

The cost of medical care is rising much faster than GDP and per capita income growth. Much of it due to the govt initiatives to turn Singapore into a medical hub for the rich in the region - the Indonesian millionaires, Myanmar junta leaders, Saudi oil sheiks etc. PM Lee's own sister explained that the booming private hospital sector has caused doctors to leave the public hospitals - the pay difference is huge and doctors are only human. This causes cost of medical care to spiral up. Singapore served 410,000 foreign patients last year and PM Lee explained that no one not even Myanmar junta leaders is turned away as long as they have money because:

"Somebody who is sick, he wants to come to Singapore, he needs treatment and you're telling me that I shouldn't treat him because he is not a good man? It goes against the Hippocratic oath of doctors"- PM Lee on why Burmese Junta leaders are treated in Singapore.
PM Lee respects the Hippocratic Oath but I'm sure if a penniless Ethiopian cancer patient arrives in Singapore, our medical hub will just route him back to Ethiopia with his cancer.
While allowing the cost of medical care to rise, the govt realised it still needs to subsidise Singaporeans which undermines its motive to make more money as a medical hub. For years they have made Singaporeans purchase more and more insurance to pay for rising medical cost, but still Singaporeans can opt for subsidised class "C" wards at hospitals. The next strategy is to make people wait longer for subsidised treatment. It seems Singaporeans are quite patient when it comes to saving money - they will fire off a few letters to the Straits Times forum but are still willing to wait for subsidized care (dental appointment at polyclinics is now arranged 6-9 months ahead). Means testing is a way to deny subsidies outright. If you can afford a $300K HDB flat, what is the big deal about paying $100K for your medical bill....if you don't have the cash, they will work out an instalment plan for you.
The poor is so lucky in Singapore. The govt has found another way to help them which is to allow them to keep their subsidies. There is no point taking away the subsidies from the poor anyway since they are already having immense difficulty paying for the "subsidized" it makes no difference to the govt whether they keep their subsidies or not. However, the middle income will be quite juicy for the govt to "squeeze"....and squeeze they will, this time in their time of greatest need when they are sick and desperate for treatment.

Singaporeans are so lucky to have such a caring govt that is always thinking of new ways to help the poor.

PM Lee suggests hospitals implement means testing to help the poor
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 29 October 2007 1926 hrs

PM Lee suggests hospitals implement means testing to help the poor

SINGAPORE : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has suggested that hospitals implement means testing to help the lower income group. This is to determine how much patients should be subsidised, based on their means. Mr Lee said this is a sensitive issue and the Health Ministry (MOH) will be consulting unions on this. He was addressing over 1,000 unionists at the NTUC Delegates conference on Monday. Good and affordable healthcare has been one important issue facing Singaporeans. While many initiatives are being rolled out to address this, PM Lee told unionists that subsidies will still be needed to help the lower income. To ensure that subsidies are given only to those who need them most, hospitals may need to implement means testing. PM Lee said: "It's not easy to do; it's a very sensitive (issue) and the Ministry of Health is studying this carefully. The idea is there, but how do we implement it fairly and simply without making hospital care unaffordable for the middle income group. "Once MOH has some firmer ideas, (Health Minister) Khaw Boon Wan and his team will consult the unions on what to do and how to go about doing this." Mr Lee assured the labour movement that the government will always keep in close touch with the unions on all major issues. Going forward, he said the government must now make sure that workers benefit from the growth and vitality of the economy. But the government cannot assume this would come about automatically. And in some cases, some special attention or action would be required. Special attention to the economy has helped it grow 7.6 percent in the first half of the year, according to Mr Lee. For the whole year, growth could possibly hit the top end of the government's forecast of 7-8 percent. But the current turbulence in global financial markets remains a risk factor. Turning to the booming property market in Singapore, both in the prime office space and residential segments, Mr Lee noted that the Urban Redevelopment Authority has withdrawn the Deferred Payment Scheme for property purchases last Friday. "This step will help to dampen excessive speculation and to inject some reality into the market. But more fundamental than the ups and downs of the property cycle, the government is committed to keeping housing affordable for Singaporeans," said the Prime Minister. Mr Lee assured them that the government will continue to monitor trends closely and take further action if necessary. The aim is to make sure that the property market stays in balance over the long term. Mr Lee also stressed that Singapore is successful only after difficult adjustments over the years. He said: "Because we have taken these steps, each one difficult but each one necessary, we have moved forward together. We have stayed competitive, stayed ahead of other countries, our neighbours and we have prospered. "Why have we been able to make these changes? It's not that other countries don't know they are necessary, but we have moved one step faster than others. And one major reason we have been able to do this is because of the strong support of the labour movement." With the government, workers and employers working together as a winning formula, Mr Lee stressed that Singapore must keep on adjusting and adapting in order to stay ahead. - CNA /ls


Capt_Canuck said...

Sounds like perfect Singaporean logic to me. Help the poor by making the middle class pay more thus making the middle class poor and available for the help that the poor get. Thus reducing the difference between poor/middle/upper class people by making it just poor and upper class. Then you know your place in society and all is well. The upper class (elites/politicians) get their paid immediate health care with their huge salaries, the poor get the health care subsidies that they have always wanted and are encouraged to work more (getting to work earlier thanks to the hike in ERP) and the businesses thrive.

So, exactly what is the problem here? The PAP have obviously thought of everything and worked out this problem with a perfectly fine solution.

As for the Hippocratic oath, I think turning away a rich dictator seeking medical attention is more going against the 'accountants bottom line' oath than the Hippocratic oath.

James Chia said...

We middle-class people are always squeezed by the government. I don't believe their crap of having means testing to help the poor. Just like how regressive GST is to help the poor either.

Anonymous said...

That's why our government now going all out to hire world class doctors from Mainland China and India to fill our under staffed public hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Subsidized healthcare in Singapore works something like this:

When a Singaporean is hospitalized in a public privatised hospital - which is still owned by the government - he will get a bill from the hospital that says a significant percentage is subsidized.

However the subsidy stated therein looks more like a governmental subsidy for the hospital and not a subsidy for the actual costs of the healthcare rendered to the patient.

There can be a big difference between the two.

Just like HDB flats. PAP says subsidy means the difference between a HDB flat and what private developer would charge.

The HDB had rejected through the press the notion that public housing subsidy means subsidy for the cost of building HDB flats for Singaporeans.

In other words PAP can be making profit from both healthcare and HDB flats and yet claim it is subsidizing the people on them.

See, how misleading "government subsidy" has come to mean in Singapore.

Robert HO nric S0197974D said...

1. Talking about LHL's Hypocritic Oath, when I was poisoned by a very virulent flu virus by LIE KY LHL PAP ISD agents a few years back, 1 of many such poisonings I, my son and my little niece suffered over the last 15 years, the latest poisoning from which I am now still recovering from,I had to see a doctor 2-3 times to recover, since 1 prescription of medicines not enough.

2. So I went to the Shenton Family Medical Clinic in Bukit Batok, the 1 opposite Bukit Gombak MRT Station, and was seen by a locum male doctor, as it was quite late in the evening.

3. I don't know his name, but he has a long scar, probably from an operation, on his left inner lower arm, the scar ugly and running from almost from the wrist to almost the elbow.

4. This bastard obviously was a PAP man and knew I would be coming and who I was, that is, someone who was fighting LIE KY LHL's criminal daily attacks -- fighting back with only WORDS, like I am doing now.

5. He was rude and deliberately showed that he was not going to help me like a real doctor would. He shoved the ear-thermometer rudely into my left ear without even [deliberately] placing it deep enough to take a reading, then without looking at it, said, "No fever". He then dismissed me with another perfunctory placing of the stethoscope on my chest without even listening to my chest.

6. LIE KY LHL PAP had indeed proven that they can get doctors to victimise me as well. To the extent of not bothering to do their job when I was sick.

7. The doctors who own Shenton Family Medical Clinic in Bukit Batok can probably trace this Hypocritic doctor, 1 of LIE KY LHL PAP's own men.

8. Disgusting.

For more of my WORDS against LIE KY LHL PAP daily CRIMINAL torture attacks, that is, DEEDS, see :





Anonymous said...

"PM Lee respects the Hippocratic Oath but I'm sure if a penniless Ethiopian cancer patient arrives in Singapore, our medical hub will just route him back to Ethiopia with his cancer."
Too right...

Anonymous said...

Mr Lee also stressed that Singapore is successful only after difficult adjustments over the years. – tax, tax, tax
Mr Lee stressed that Singapore must keep on adjusting and adapting in order to stay ahead. – tax some more

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is that after all the talk with the unions, the union leaders will come out supporting the Govt position - this is Uniquely Singaporean....

Anonymous said...

You can be sure that this talk with the Union is not about how means testing is going to affect the workers and certainly not whether means testing should be implemented.

It will be about how the Union should go all out to sell the idea to the workers. The Union has and is always there to support the Government implement policies, not to mitigate the worker's plight. Have we not learnt from the CPF cuts?

This Government/Union consulation process is like an old record being played everytime they want to implement umpopular policies. The result is always the same.

Anonymous said...

In a press interview reported today, was WP Low just pretending to be incapable of challenging PAP in a big way or was he saying it for real?

Anonymous said...

you can tell how much the pap love the smell of money when the even charge GST for medical fees.

no wonder they are all out to attract forign medical visitors. a typical 10-day stay can mean $15k or $1k in revenue! how many singaporeans pay thay kind of income tax in a year???

if they really want to help us, they would waive gst for singaporeans oly. but dream on, they don't want to "subsidize" singaporeans in this way...

Mr. White said...

We really have to make our voices heard on this one. Medication and health care is shooting up the roof with minimal resistance cos of unfelt pain due to payment via medisave.

Means testing is a killer. We must "advise" and "suggest" to PM that we reject means testing more that we reject ministerial pay increase by 100 times.

Anonymous said...

capt canuck says that when the middle income becomes poor and receives subsidies, all will be well and good.

But that is not the aim of a good government. A good government aims to lift the living standard of its people by increasing their earning power, not making them poorer. If there are more poor in Singapore, it can only mean that the country has regressed.

If ERP means getting to work earlier, means working longer hours, it simply means that standard of living has diminished because for the same pay, people are getting less leisure / personal time. This again signifies that the country has regressed.

Capt Canuck has the uncanny ability of seeing our country's regression in a positive light.

Capt_Canuck said...

anon 8:20

Singapore has a government??!?!?! I am terribly sorry, I was thinking that Singapore was a corporation designed to make money for certain elites. I mean, it certainly runs like a corporation. Make employees pay for everything so that the employers dont have to, reward the CEOs and managers (isn't that what you call your PM and ministers?) with high bonuses and pay raises when the end of year profit is high (isn't that why the CEOs and managers got those huge pay raises, cause Singapore Inc. is increasing profits by 7% yearly?) and the company always looks to lower their cost to health care and put the burden on the employees. I have seen American companies do this health care cost decrease countless times by going to health insurance agencies looking for the cheapest health care plan for their employees.

So Singapore has a gov't, not a company, and Singaporeans are all citizens of that country and not employees? Damn, guess my sights were wrong and Singaporeans are not loyal and trustworthy employees but just really damn apathetic citizens willing to passively take whatever a bully tells you. Oh well, enjoy your $400 pay packages before every 4 year election and smile, cause you get what you vote for.

Anonymous said...

Not so soon. They will not dish out $400 pay packages because it is not election time yet. This is pay-back time for what they dished out before the last election. GST, ERP, CPF changes, soon means testing and God knows what. Hey, it was a blessing in disguise really for the Government to fork out the 2006 pre-election goodies because they are getting all back, in perpetuity at that. Works all the time!

snow white said...

"PM Lee respects the Hippocratic Oath but I'm sure if a penniless Ethiopian cancer patient arrives in Singapore, our medical hub will just route him back to Ethiopia with his cancer."

You're WRONG. The Singapore Govt WILL NOT reject this patient. They will arrange for a whole team of SGH docs to treat n nurse him 24/7, arranging in the meantime for global news coverage on the expertise and benevolence of the SG team.

I'm not sure wat will happen in the case of a (middle-class) Singaporean though. :p

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