Sunday, February 13, 2011

Papers put the spin on sick going to Malaysia....

If your healthcare system is not universal and becomes so expensive that citizens have to go to developing country for treatment, it is a tragedy not an achievement. However, if you read today's New Paper, it seems to be saying the MOH has helped Singaporeans to save money by allowing them to use their Medisave for hospitalisation in Malaysia. All of us have to thank Minister Khaw for this flexibility of being able to save money by travelling to Malaysia when we get sick.
The article doesn't ask about adequency of govt support for poorer Singaporeans when the cost of private care in Malaysia is less than half (according to New Paper) that of subsidised care in Singapore. It doesn't ask why these people have to go to Malaysia to save money when Minister Khaw can get his heart fixed for $ poor people pay more and rich millionaires like Khaw get cheap healthcare - there is certainly a moral issue here. The New Paper article is filled with smiling patients who are happy to save money going to Malaysia for treatment but I believe the story in many real cases sound more like tragedies. Take Singapore singer Yue Lei case as an example[Link]. He had to sell his home and go to Mahkota Hospital for cancer treatment because healthcare in Singapore is too expensive. Singapore often boast of having one of the highest standard of medical care in the world but when the govt wants to keep its expenditure on subsidies down by sending poorer sick Singaporeans to Malaysia, it says the standard of care in a developing country is just as good as Singapore's. Being able to get poor Singaporeans to go to developing countries for medicak care takes the pressure off the govt to do more to contain costs and ensure universality in our system. We shouldn't have allowed this is a tragic development for poor Singaporeans who get sick and don't get adequate help.


Anonymous said...

Land cost in Singapore is very high; 80% inflated by PAP policies, 20% due to land scarcity and economic reasons. This is my guesstimate from the 80/20 rule.

Hence, Malaysia could probably build 3 hospitals for the cost of Singapore building 1 hospital. This naturally extends to cost of medication, physio and outpatient checkups.

High cost of land, high rents and high medical costs are all interelated, especially since the cost of land (and rent) takes up a disproportionate cost of business operations in Singapore. It is far easier to cut salaries than it is to cut rents.

Needless to say, the immediate quick fix to high health cost in Singapore is to send our sick over to Malaysia. Until of course, Malaysia gets fed up with us cramming up their hospitals and taking Malaysian subsidies, and start charging us full medical fees without subsidy or at a hefty profit, aka Singapore-style.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are very pitiful. Follow me, immigrate to Canada.

Universal health care is 100% FREE.
When I retire, the Canadian govt. gives me more than C$1,000/month, and other benefits(too many to list). When I get my Canadian citizenship, I can withdraw 100%
of my CPF money. And, the beauty of it all is that I don't have to spend my CPF money for my old age in Canada.

Canada is like heaven on earth.

Anonymous said...

Are there any minimal or stringent requirements to be canadian? I want to follow.

Anonymous said...

If PAP doesn't even want to provide adequate subsidy for basic hospitalisation and healthcare, then why do we even bother to do NS, reservist and pay taxes? If we're feeling so generous then might as well we all volunteer to our companies for 50% paycut and work throughout weekends and public holidays.

obscene said...

Me think me see a business opportunity to start a tier 3 hospital or medical hub in Bintan, Batam and some say JB too.

Anonymous said...

It is best the sick and poor faster die then the gahmen can simply import healthy & young foreign talent to replace them without wasting their money to take care of them.

Anonymous said... Singapore the PAP call give the homeless a fanciful name "transient nomads". I wonder what they call this group ? The Fussy Patients? Nomad Patients?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone done a cost-benefit analysis on why SGP cannot afford a Free Universal healthcare like Canada ? Or has everyone just taken the PAP politicians at their face value when they claim that it will bankrupt our reserves? Surely some sort of caps can be place eg X times of x-ray or full medical check per year within reasons. I would be interested in a deep dive on this subject.

Anonymous said...

Good post Lucky. Do you think this is a covert way of the government trying to "send" or alert poor people of cheaper medical alternatives in JB because they really just do not wish to attend to these "low hanging fruits"? Is just too beneath someone would say = Get out of my elite uncaring face.

sgcynic said...

Remind me: what is the social compact between the government and Singaporean, before the former broke it?

Very Mean said...

If mean-testing were supposed to help the poor get subsidized medical aid, then why is this still happening?

Tragedy said...

Happy Valentines Day everyone.
From PAP, With Love...

run road said...

PAP has never abandoned its callous long term plan to see all our poor and aged driven out of the country to die alone at the least possible cost to the nation. This triumphal celebration of Khaw's cleverness is but the first step in a relentless march which will culminate in making it mandatory for those who don't have an arbitrary minimum amount of support to seek care in cheaper neighbouring countries.

He trialled his 'faster, cheaper, better in JB' healthcare balloon a couple of years ago and was roundly spat upon by netizens. But the arrogance of unchecked power soon meant that he was at it again a year later when he began to tout the benefits old age homes in JB with a visit and a speech marvelling at how amazingly cheap it all was. Remember his casual remark that all our old folk really need was to be within easy reach of S'pore hospitals and they could always be back in S'pore within an hour or so? Spoken like a true elitist utterly out of touch with reality.

Fortunately a triple heart bypass put a crimp in our mad health minister's plans for a while but you cannot keep the beneficiary of an $8 operation down for long (free medical care for high-ranking civil servants, don't forget) and he's back pushing the agenda. He seems quite oblivious to the growing anger of an electorate already incensed by stagnant or falling wages and FTs coming out of every crevice in the land. Good. Let's hope he keeps up his boh chap attitude and sabotages his party's chances in the election.

VerySad said...

This is truly a very very sad sad day for Singaporeans. They can argue cheap healthcare in JB is better than no healthcare, and naive people will buy that. The poor sick people have to travel looong distance to get medical and these are the ones who are our forefathers who have build the nation and voted for PAP. Soon enough they will be approving euthanasia is allowed in SGP. Maybe khaw's bypass is a karmic reminder from the universe to tell him to have some heart for the people, or it will be taken away from him...

Sad sad sad day.

Anonymous said...

" is a tragic development for poor Singaporeans who get sick and don't get adequate help."
- Lucky Tan

If this is tragic, then everything also tragic for poor Singaporeans what, not just medical care, right or not?

But PAP will still win, right? So how?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you Lucky.

The true measure of a society is how it treats the sick, the weak and the poor. What kind of society is Singapore shaping out to be?

Anonymous said...

When the CPF Life come into effect, the sooner you die the sooner your money would go to the "government"! So you tell me why would they (being so money-face) want to save you? I think there is a major conflict of interest here.

Anonymous said...

what is CPF LIFE? What's that about? Doesn't the will nomination overwrites it.

Anonymous said...

After seeing how much our Singapore government care for its own sick citizens, I now know better why more and more young Singaporeans will not defend Singapore in a crisis.

Health care is a big issue, on top of non-citizens who leech on our system, are cheapening the vlaue of Singaporean citizenship.

Anonymous said...

The reason why Minister Khaw only had to pay $8 for his heart surgery is because he was adequately covered by his medical insurance. All of us can have affordable and quality healthcare in Singapore if each of us takes responsibility by getting the correct and proper medical insurance.

And if we were to be like Canada or even the UK, can you imagine our taxes? VAT in UK (like our GST) is 20% as compared to the 7% in Singapore. Would we actually prefer that?

Anonymous said...

Well in that case I like to know which insurance coverage he has, and how much it cost him per month/year before one can enjoy a $8 heart surgery.

If I have to pay 20% of VAT and ensure I get quality, adequate almost-free healthcare (without parking me into JB or Batam) then show me the plan! Besides, it wont be long after GE that I'm sure PAP will increase GST to 10%. Watch the space.

Anonymous said...

//All of us can have affordable and quality healthcare in Singapore if each of us takes responsibility by getting the correct and proper medical insurance. //

Please elaborate or even better, list the "correct" and proper medical insurance. You seem to imply that there are incorrect and improper ones out there that people might fall into the trap unknowingly. If so, I like to know.

While today I feel I am taking great responsibility with proper savings through my medicare, shield and coverage etc, how do I know the cost of inflation as over the next 10-20 years when I am old age and left the working world, that it may become insufficient or out of reach at the rate we are growing now! The CFP is a clear case in point.

wtf said...

aiyo no need to plan so hard. One look at the PAP policies you know in 20 years time, everyone of us will be served by cheap indians and pinoys in the D class hospitals in JB. already happening. then they will give you cheap generic drugs. then they will provide buses that shutter you between Singapore and JB like the casino buses. then Parkway will have multiple branches overseas in china, and even better, you get TCM even cheaper because no drugs to dispense, just animal galls, balls and horns crushed into mixed *wtf* powder. then singapore will truly only become the monaco for the rich and elites who have jets, yatches and trust funds to live on. that is singapore in a nutshell for you. these are the hard truths for you since there's only the hard metrics. Forget about the soft metrics or pursuit of happiness or compassion nada nada. there is no heartware like what they make you sing on national day..those are just wayang. just so you know my job has to do with scenario plannings.. vote for PAP! vote for a soulless and heartless singapore!

Anonymous said...

Many countries are closing their doors to immigrants. If Singaporeans still don't do some real planning for themselves, then PAP Hell is waiting for them.

The biggest tragedy is not living as a minority in a host country. I think living as a minority in your own country is worse.

Anonymous said...

the fact is that health care in bloody damn canada is not free at all.

everyone has to pay a mandatory provincial monthly health premium in order to access to sub-standard health care.

I know the above is because I just returned from damn bloody canada after living in that shit hole canada for the past 6 years.

Anonymous said...

The bulk of Singapore's taxes come in the form of houses and cars. So Singapore doesn't need the high VAT that other countries charge. There is nothing wrong with subsidising the land which hospitals stand on. Just like schools are highly subsidied (as a citizen a kid's school fees are free)...I assume no school has to pay rent for the land it stands on. So it can be made where public hospitals are the same. Already newly graduated doctors are made to work long hours with lower pay to help lower medical costs. Surely other things can be done as well.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, any government who cannot provide universal healthcare for it's citizen failed miserably. There is no excuse whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

//Many countries are closing their doors to immigrants. If Singaporeans still don't do some real planning for themselves, then PAP Hell is waiting for them.//

Many countries are closing their doors to immigrants not because of racism or xenophobia.

They are rejecting immigrants because the vast majority of such immigrants tend to be lowly skilled or armed with faked degrees or diplomas, and they bring with them their undesirable customs and traditions into our land.

There are very strong reasons why some countries can rise from the ash to become developed, and why some others are still stuck in the same hellhole as they were 60 years ago.

Locals, as in citizens, are getting fed up with immigrants not integrating, overcrowding and the assorted problems that these migrants bring to our land.

Anonymous said...

Khaw is an ex malaysian so he encouraged sg to go msia to seek medical treatment and help msia earn money from sg.
a collaboration can be made with msia hospital to send old and poor sg earlier to die to make way for new ft.

Anonymous said...

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Sunday that in 2010, Canada admitted 280,636 new permanent residents.

I live in Alberta,
VAT 5%(no VAT for groceries)
I am covered under Universal Health Care from day one. No need to pay any premium.
No road tax, no COE, no ERP, no CBD charges, etc...too many in S'pore that we don't have here.
Free First-class education for my kids until grade 12(pre-U level).
Registered Education Savings Plan(RESP) for my kids' university education. Canadian govt. will top
up 20% of your contribution. Or you(or your kids) can get tertiary education loan from the bank. To be repaid when you get a job.

If you are not lazy, you can make it in Canada. I know one welder from Vietnam who is earning $30+/hour, and he is living in a bungalow with a double garage with two cars. He has no formal education. When he first landed in Canada, he can hardly speak English. He started as a dishwasher. He said that Canada has been good to him and his family

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Canada links!
Since I'm already a minority class citizen here, I might as well be a minority class citizen in a real first world country where health/education are free.

Anonymous said...

So Khaw is an ex-malaysian. So here's another question to which I am curious. Did he get his triple bypass surgery in a C ward that cost him only $8?
Even if he's in a A or B wards, if you go by the logic that the mean-test were meant to be for low income people to use public hospitals, then shoudn't someone like him go to private instead? Why is an elite milionaire MP doing with competing for cheap and subsidized healthcare along with the poor/needy?

Is there true mean-testing here?
It reminds me of the scholarships in education. They should totally be closed to elites and students who come from well-to-do families. And truly open to low income students who can then have an equal access of opportunity!

So many BS & contradictory policies PAP!

Bhaghita said...

Hello I am Bhaghita from BBC.

Thanks for the post and comments here. I am doing a piece on healthcare in Asia, US & America. This is an interesting forum to get some ideas of what's happening in the grounds in Singapore. Keep up the good investigative questioning!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Some idiot mention VAT 20% ... a form of tax overseas...

Yeah sure GST is only 7%....

But do the ignorant idiot "can" see all other indirect ERP, C&CC charges, TV charges, and what you other "subtle" indirect taxes locally in singapore...

Silly ignorant ass.

Anonymous said...

dear bbc reporter,
ten years ago, internet was not so powerful and thus a lot of sg live in complete ignorance about PAP system. today, with the help of internet and free information, more sg are waking up to the flaws of pap system.
our flats are more expensive than any flats in paris or london cos most importantly our flats only lasts for 90 years and full or restrictions.
our medical costs are also expensive and schemes to help old and poor are useless.
our transport system are shamed with ridiculous three letters words that are a joke among people in first world countries.
where is democracy when basic necessities are beyond reach?

Valentine'rUs said...

How much do I love thee, let me count the ways!

1) Transport
- COE, ERP, CBD, Peak/NonPeak, Road Tax, Sentosa Island Fee, MTR card fee, ComfortDelgro, SMRT, SIA, JetStar, SilkAir

2) Food & Housing
- HDB, SingLand, KeppelLand, CapitalLand, NTUC Supermarkets, F&N, Kopitiams landlord etc

3) Energy & Utilities
- PUB, SP, MediaCorp, Hyflux, Singtel

4) Education
- Fees from PAP kindergarten, High School, JC & Uni.

5) Industries (Shipping/Banking/Hedgefund)
- Keppel Shipyard, PSC, NOL, OCBC, DBS/POSB, GIC, Temasek, BioTech

6) Healthcare & Charity
- All public hospitals, Community Clinics, NKF & other Charities

7) Corporate Tax & Workers levy
- All Employers & Employee tax to CPF, Foreign Workers/Talents levies to MOM

8) GST
- Consumption & Services tax, esp heavy on Alcohol & Cigarettes, fee to Casinos

So from the moment you wake up to the end of day, 24/7 milking Cash Cows to keep our animal farm running. From cradle-to-gradle don't worry, I have every ways to take from you, because if I don't, who will keep this farm running?

If I say Jump, you should ask how high? If I say go JB, you should ask how far? And try not to ask me what I can do for you, better to ask what you can do for my Party Ministers. In the end, you will be slaughtered and show up on my dinner plate. That is the fate and the meaning of life. And happens to be the hard truths.

Daze said...

Wow! I better hint to my fiance tonight to propose soon. And I do not want any of his 5Cs..just 1 new C = Citizenship of another Country.

Wiser said...

Anonymous said...

Why is an elite milionaire MP doing with competing for cheap and subsidized healthcare along with the poor/needy?

Khaw was in expensive, non-subsidized Class A.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lucky

Tell us truthfully ... do you REALLY believe
Mr "I saw UFO" GSM can beat Mr "Self-proclaimed Pious Buddhist" Khaw in a fair election?

Or any of the pro-LGBT "I want underaged children to learn how to have safe sex" liberal opposition.

Come on. Put it down on record ...

Anonymous said...

Yo V

There is more to animal farm than "4 legs good, 2 legs better".

"Life would go on as it had always gone on — that is, badly" - Benjamin the donkey.

Moses' Sugarcandy mountain, while a long shot, has better odds. If nothing else, provides some pain relief is cheaper than magic mushrooms.

Anonymous said...

So sad, i had to pay few hundreds for a day surgery. How come he can just pay $8 for a bypass?

This is so much difference! If i had to do a bypass... i guess all my medisave will be wiped out!

To hell with them.. really sick of this place and the ppl who run the country!!!

Anonymous said...

//Khaw was in expensive, non-subsidized Class A.//

So in Expensive + non subsidized Class A = $8
But in Inexpensive + heavily subsidized Class C = $x00

Do you see what I see here? huh...??!?!??!!
If the difference is because of additional private coverage that he has, where most average joe/jane will not have because they think medicare/aid/shield whatever are sufficient. What gives?

Anonymous said...

I read earlier somewhere that Singapore homegrown millionaire Peter Lim has $500m+ of wealth to buy Liverpool!

If he is so rich, why don't he help the less fortunate?
If he comes up with a charity plan to buy medishield coverage for 10% of poor people in the bottom 20% he will still have some change. Where the philanthropic spirits of our own people? What's the use of buying a Liverpool club for?! We need to offer our singapore citizenship to Oprah. So she can come and be the robinhood..unfortunately, the new elite rich are only interested in their bungalows and yatches on an island. If war III breaks out, I hope they will attack and sink that island first.

Anonymous said...

to bbc reporter,

this pap government in their zeal to get rich, has allowed a very liberal immigration of 'cheap' labour into singapore. this inturn create a property inflation, which will create huge wealth for the Land owner that is the govt. All this is done by depresssing labour wage.

Anonymous said...

Corruption to the core.
It's OK if they are living million dollar lifestyles, at least lead the country properly. I am thinking of migrating. It's a good idea to move out of an overcrowded island. I can't live in a concrete jungle. It's psychologically imbibing. Singapore is not a healthy place to live. The air is bad and the place is too noisy. You can barely see the sky as you're covered with flats everywhere. It's suffocating.

Wiser said...

“Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.”

Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Anonymous said...

"I am thinking of migrating. It's a good idea to move out of an overcrowded island...... Singapore is not a healthy place to live. The air is bad and the place is too noisy.... It's suffocating...."
Anon 14/2/11 22:10

Hahahaha. For every Anon who feels like the above, there are 100s of foreign talents who think this place is heaven.

So majority wins. Just like the 66% PAP majority mandate.

runroad said...

People, people, people! Please. Why do you think Khaw Boon Wan gets to pay 8 bucks for a surgical procedure that would cost you and me the thick end of twenty thousand dollars, not counting convalescent care, in caring, sharing Singapore? He, like Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew, and all his civil servants in the top echelon have made doubly certain that they are entitled to free healthcare for the rest of their natural lives.

Yessir, Khaw believes himself to be the spitting image of the head honcho of a Fortune 100 company and his gold-plated medical insurance is paid by, yah you guessed it, YOU and that hunched 70-year old lady with the sad eyes now wiping off your table at McD. This free-meds scheme was a hangover from colonial days when servants of the Crown were indeed paid much less than the going rate and were allowed a sweetener or two as a reward for their sacrifice. And what sacrifice is someone who is today earning 4-5 million dollars a year cutting ribbons making? Good question which you might ask of your humble PM next time you see him at your local hawker centre ordering a plate of mee siam. If it is now a perk to make multi-millionaires even more multi, thank you ever so much and God bless your generous little heart, Singaporean serf.

If, Heaven forfend, LKY should suffer a catastrophic stroke tomorrow and become an even less useful old turnip that requires ICU attention costing $1-2 million per annum for the next ten years, his medical insurance, bought at colossal price by you, will be paid for by you too every single step of the way. And it will probably cost him, ah, perhaps $9. Oh, and did you forget that while totally comatose, he will continue to receive two-thirds of his last drawn salary of 3.5 million dollars a year? It's his fairly-earned pension you know, the pension scheme which is exclusive to ministers and top civil servants - the very one they hastily abolished for the rest of Singapore.

You lucky guys will have to make do with our brilliant CPF cannot-lose scheme and Khaw's magic 3M's for healthcare which is better than having a pension, say the people who haven't given up their pension rights. You know, over the years people like Tony Blair and countries from all over the globe have come to study the Singapore miracle but oddly enough, not a one, not a single one, has seen fit to adopt our brilliant meritocratic ideas, amongst which are CPF and Medicare. Of course it's obvious that they are all clearly mediocre politicians and third world duds who are unfit for public office and require a swift kick up the backside plus spurs in their lazy, good-for-nothing hides.

Would you mind passing the XXO while I peruse my bank account? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

this Khaw is not even medically trained. thus he is unfit to be a health minister.

Anonymous said...

Why must Minister Khaw be medically trained? There are car sales people without driving licence and there are many financial consultants with only secondary educations.
In Sin, anyone convincing with words gets the best returns. Many top men work only with their mouths and of course, crafty minds.

Anonymous said...

So like an airline with a First (A) Business (B), and Economy (C) classes distinction, we now can fly Budget airline, while still using our Krisflyer points so to speak. Very generous. How long will this go on? What's the catch?

There is also a real implication that as more people move to cheaper healthcare in MY, we will see a bigger increase of Tourist medical because they give higher margins to hospital who now have to make up for the losses in the lower mass market tier. Over time, it will shift the demographics of the kinds of patients Singapore will get/attract. In turn, the landscape of our service providers will change drastically. This is something to seriously think about.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted a good gem on TOC which I'll share here

The Pariah said...

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan did NOT practise what he preached. That's how he could pay $8 for heart surgery.

1. For a national health insurance scheme, Khaw said that (A) DEDUCTIBLES and (B) CO-INSURANCE are key checks-and-balances to prevent abusive/excessive use of medical treatment. That's what Khaw proclaimed at inception of Medishield.

2. A few years ago, Khaw restructured ALL Medishield plans (whether CPF or private) into two tiers. Approved private insurers take top tier whereas Medishield take bottom tier.

MOH then allowed these private insurers to sell riders to cover the core elements of Deductibles and Co-Insurance.

3. Khaw bought these two riders.

4. On a NATIONAL basis, Khaw advocated a health insurance structure with embedded Deductibles and Co-Insurance.

On a PERSONAL basis, Khaw then bought riders to NOT pay for Deductibles and Co-Insurance.

5. What does this tell you about the kind of person Khaw is?

The Pariah

The Pariah said...

Another interesting fact ...
Correlation of Mortality Rate to CPF LIFE Annuity Pay-outs.

1. CPF LIFE annuity scheme is compulsory for those born in 1958 or later.

2. The amount of monthly annuity pay-out from Age 65 depends on (A) Interest Rate and (B) Mortality Rate. [Pls verify it for yourself at CPF web-site.]

3. The sooner that fellow Singaporeans die, the higher the chances that the remaining Singaporeans will be able to collect slightly more in annuity pay-outs.

4. Healthcare is about (A) Speed, (B) Access, (C) Medical History (your own and your family) and (D) Quality.

5. Even if overseas hospitals in Third World Countries can offer Quality, can they meet the other 3 criteria?

Hence, there is yet another reason why top-class quality healthcare IN Singapore is NOT for Singaporeans.

When you are old and/or sick, you no longer contribute to GDP. In fact, you are a drain on national resources.

So do yourself (and do the rest of us) a big favour - PLS GO ELSEWHERE for medical treatment.

And since overseas hospitals will be less accessible, you will likely delay seeking treatment or less regular follow-ups and those overseas doctors may miss the connection to past medical history ... so PLS DIE FASTER.
It is for the greater good, you know.

The Pariah

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