I would like to bring your attention to this heart warming story about a volunteer in the Canadian YOG team who suffered a heart attack in Singapore. The 68 year old Canadian suffered a heart attack in Singapore while walking down a flight of stairs. He had to undergo open heart surgery at NUH's Heart Centre but has since recovered and will be going home to Vancouver next month.
"His medical expenses and lodgings will be paid for by the Singapore YOG Games Organising Committee.
I'm very grateful to the people of Singapore for taking care of me."
- Straits Times 24 Sep 2010.
I'm glad the govt did the right thing by paying for his medical expenses so that he can concentrate on getting well and not worry about being means tested and having to shoulder the burden of medical treatment in Singapore. He wasn't told by our govt, like they often tell Singaporeans, that he is financially responsible for his own health and sickness. As a Canadian he receives free universal medical care back home and would be unfamiliar with a healthcare system that pushes as much financial burden to the sick and their family as possible to keep govt expenditure down. Mr. Milan Fischer will go home with a very good impression of Singapore not because the system treated him like they would a Singaporean but because the system treated him differently from how it would treat a Singaporean....
The govt approach to healthcare is to make Singaporeans shoulder as much of the healthcare burden as possible. For this reason, ordinary Singaporeans shoulder the highest % of total healthcare expenditure vs govt expenditure among developed countries.
At the same time, the govt tries to make Singapore a medical hub for the rich causing a large portion of our healthcare capacity to be privatized and cost to increase. Because the rising cost is passed on to Singaporeans, there is limited incentive for the govt to keep healthcare cost down. Singaporeans are now asked to buy insurance from for-profit insurance companies and now part of our healthcare expenditure goes towards the profits of these companies. These policies are becoming increasing complex and when you get sick, you cannot be sure that you're covered (Read this story about a woman who pays $600 a month on insurance only to find she wasn't covered :[Link]). Hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans do not even have insurance and cannot afford to get sick. Singaporeans will be grateful if they are treated like Mr. Fischer in their time of greatest need....when they are seriously ill, they should be able to concentrate on getting well and not worry about the financial burden imposed on them by the govt when they are sick.