You wake up one day with a pain somewhere and go to see your doctor. The doctor refers you to the hospital for a check up. You're means tested : "How much you earn? What type of housing do you stay in?". Base on this criteria, they decide whether you can afford to pay for your medical bills.
But how can they decide whether you have the means to pay for your bill without knowing what the bill is? A person living in a executive flat can afford a 3-month stay in ICU with surgery amounting to $200K?...A person living in a 3-room flat cannot afford a $200 scan?
What is the meaning of the word "affordable"? HDB flats are affordable, last week City View units were sold at prices up to $700K. Affordable means you can pay the monthly instalments after you get into debt?
Singapore is a medical hub and up to 410,000 medical tourists come here for treatment in 2006. The PAP govt actively promotes Singapore as a medical hub it now says that it is worried there is not enough resources for subsidized "C" wards for the poor.
Insurance ....get as much of it as possible to cover yourself. How high can insurance cost get? When the govt is no longer obligde to provide subsidised care to a large part of the population, there will be less incentive for them to keep cost under control. The problem of medical insurance include:
1. The introduction of a middle man whose primary motive is to maximise profits. Why did the govt privatise insurance? Now there is someone there to introduce complex products with various fine prints ....remember how Aviva used pre-existing condition to deny claims.
2. There is a tendency for a system that relies alot on insurance to see cost spirals . You may think that the amount you pay now is affordable....that was what the Americans thought now 40M of them are uninsured because of the high cost of insurance.
3. There are many people who cannot get medical insurance now due to illness or congenital problems. They may fail means testing and be exposed to very high medical costs through no fault of their own.
What is the problem the govt says it is fixing anyway? ....According to the headlines news on Monday - the govt spends $1.5B a year on subsidies. 9% of "C" is occupied by people of the top 20% bracket. The amount of subsidy "abused" by high income earners is $135M. Even if you're a "high income" earner, you get seriously ill you may want to conserve some money for your family. A subsidy that people have to get sick to "abuse" isn't really that easy to "abuse". How much did our govt pump into sick American and European banks last year? $20+B ....an amount more than 100 times that means testing is trying to fix.
Giving middle class Singaporeans a financial break when they are sick and most desperate is a no-no for our govt.