Saturday, May 14, 2011

Healthcare cracks as wide as Bishan River....

I wanted to post this yesterday but Blogspot was down.

I read with sadness the plight of a cancer patient in The Online Citizen. Here is the case in detail  [Why cancer patients are not subsidised by the govt]. The story tells us the enormous financial stress put on cancer patients and their families. Mdm Choi was diagnosed with incurable myeloma and needed medication to stay alive and improve her quality of life. The cancer treatment was not subsidized and she was not allowed to use Medisave which was her own money.Only after "haggling" with officials she was allowed to use her own Medisave for medicatiion which costs $500 per pill and chemotheraphy cost $1000 per session. Her Medisave ran out of money and she had to tap on her son's Medisave. As she could use only $450 from Medisave per day the amount of oustanding bills mounted as treatment can cost several thousand per day. When the bills mounted, credit collection company on behalf of SGH would harass them for payment.

“They’re like a licensed loan shark” - Mdm Choi [Link]

This is not an isolated case. Many Singaporeans face such hurdles and financial stress when they get cancer. A few months ago,  Singapore's 1980s' cultural icon, singer,  Yue Lei passed away in Malacca where he was seeking treatment for cancer. He sold his home in Singapore to pay for his cancer treatment at Mahkota Hospital in Malacca[Link]. Singapore's olympic hero, Tan Howe Liang, incurred a medical debt of $100,000 for his wife's breast cancer treatment[Link]. A donor helped him to pay for the bill. Tan Howe Liang earns $1000 per month working at a gym yet there is little financial aid available for his wife's treatment.

This is the real state of healthcare in Singapore - not the rosy affordable 3M picture painted by Minister Khaw. During the election campaign, an senior consultant,  Prof Paul Tambyah  from NUH spoke up at SDP's lunch time rally about healthcare financing and he paints a true picture of the situation : Link.

The PAP govt has kept its own expediture down by passing the rising costs of healthcare on to Singaporeans. Our govt expediture as a % of GDP is the lowest among developed countries. It is less than one third the average expediture of other govts.  As the govt aspires Singapore to be a medical hub for the rich in the region, costs goes up (double digit per year) as capacity does not expand fast enough to meet demand. Specialists and experienced surgeon are drawn to the "for profit" medical hub where they can make much more money doing less work. The increased cost is then passed on to the sick and their families by means testing and subsidy cuts.

The govt says it is not financially prudent to do more to help the sick. However, to win more votes at Ang Moh Kio GRC, the PAP promised to build an artificial river running through Bishan Park that cost $1.2B[Link]. Yes, $1.2B for pork barrel but they cannot do more for cancer patients. There are 8000 new cancer patients per year. Over the next 5 years, there will be 40,000 Singaporeans who will be diagnosed with cancer. $1.2B works out to be $30,000 for every cancer patient for the next 5 years.  The PAP instead chooses to use this money to build an artificial river to buy political support (after it did so many things wrong in the past 5 years). This a govt that has lost its morality. This is a govt that has lost its way.

54 comments: said...

Hi Lucky

High medical bill is prevalent in all western society. Reason being, too many elite practice medicine if they do not go into politics or business.

The citizen has to pay doctor to make them look rich and prestigious.

Lessons from history has shown that breaking the medical cartel is good for the citizen.

In China, Mao introduces the "bare foot doctor" system, focusing on giving free basic healthcare to the people.

By breaking the medical cartel Mao in one stroke raises the life expectancy from below 50 to somewhere around 60, when China is then still desperately poor.

Lucky Tan said...


Between socialised medicine and US style healthcare, there are many good alternatives.

Visited your blog. That article on social darwinism is great.

Anonymous said...

Finally, the person behind the mask decided to censor. Why? Can't take the reality of cancer or can't differentiate between reality and fanatism?

Get your bearing right. Control freaks like you best stay behind the mask!

Anonymous said...

he has got itching ears lah...itching backside also lol

Anonymous said...

It's not just the PAP that has lost its moral compass, but Singaporeans in general.

Like the elitist greedy pigs, 60% of us voted along municipal lines while forsaking the bigger picture. They blew their once-in-5-year chance. PAP ain't gonna transform much less reform, and I am waiting to see how the 60% is helping PAP to screw themselves...

Anonymous said...

The 1.2B river would be helpful as it provide these sick peasants another alternative beside the usual high-rise flat and MRT track. :(

Lucky Tan said...

anon 0911,

There is no censorship here. Google's Blogspot went into maintenance and lost a whole bunch of precious comments due to technical fault.

Anonymous said...

While 60% are screwing PAP and PAP returning the favor, 40% are screwing opposition and opposition screwing them back. And together, it is one big family of swingers having an Orgy party. How nice.

Anonymous said...

Alright Lucky. Heard you.

Anonymous said...

There is no contractual relationship to honor each other, do you expect them to take care of you?

In fact, under the current political system, I will be worried if they start "taking care of us". God knows what kind of strings come attached with every change of policies.

Anonymous said...

"This a govt that has lost its morality. This is a govt that has lost its way."
Lucky Tan

Are you sure? So the 60% majority that voted them also lost their morality, lost their way?

If like that har, jialat man.

Anonymous said...

u ever hear people say...I care for the garmen? no. most of the time is...I admire the garmen or thank them for tis n tat.
then there are many who fuk the garmen..very understandable.

so...whats the percentage of ppl who care instead of...admire and fuk them?

as confucius said.. isn't it confusing? don't care la

and business as usual

Spare Tyre said...

Lucky, in recent weeks, you seem to be attracting PAP spammers in larger numbers

Lye Khuen Way said...

Hi Lucky !
I was also taken abadk when that S$1.2B river was announced.
Was wondering if it was a typo error - S#1.2 M instead of S$1.2B.

Sad that my Govt has such sense of priority but maybe the PM will really do a review as promised and LISTEN.

Big John said...

Sad to say but those who suffer from cancer dont know how or dont think it is their place to LOBBY for the political support necessary to swing funds their way. We just dont have the culture of democratic mass participation (agitation?)which makes elected officials the servants of the populace.

Anonymous said...

Seriously I do not want to hear any more whining from singaporeans. A group of brave patriots stepped forth to fight for your healthcare rights. You spat in their faces and asked them to fuck off on 7th may 2011. This is the government you deserve and voted for. Live with it.

Anonymous said...

Turn your eyes to Today front page.

Read between the lines

That's where the real battle begins

Anonymous said...

Compassion and morality are extinct in Sin!

Anonymous said...

Compassion and morality are extinct in Sin!

Anonymous said...

The maintenance was very effective; there was cleaning and cleansing at one go and liked Lucky said 'a lot of precious comments' just disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Warring parties offer nothing long term except more blow jobs

If you hope to find your salvation in them , forget it

Anonymous said...

PAP is so greedy they also 'encourage' us to donate blood, donate our organs to help fuel their lucrative healthcare businesses.

The blood we donate is being sold to wealthy medical tourists. All the donors get is a few pieces of biscuits and a cup of Milo. Thats why I stopped donating!

Anonymous said...

My whole family and I voted for the opposition believing that their policies in place, while going to take way more time than imagined owing to the inherently flawed structure of our system and so on, will aid us more as Singaporeans in the near future. The healthcare issue is especially one issue close to my heart because I have a grandmother who is visually impaired, and some of my other grandparents died of cancer as smokers. When MP Khaw Boon Wan was painting that rosy and less-than-dour picture of healthcare being affordable and that Singaporeans can choose to abandon their sick and elderly in Johore Bahru, I read that news from a distance in Canada where I was still studying, and was seriously infuriated by his insensitivity and lack of moral grounding. Now, they want to upgrade a river? What use is a river when the elderly and sick cannot get to use it or enjoy it? Isn't it just a cosmetic bid to earn more votes in the name of asset management again? This is so disappointing that a large majority of Singaporeans still buy this pork barrel means of gaining voters, while they forget about the less advantaged in their corner of the neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

In politics, if some of those who are unhappy will still vote for you, then this is great.

Hence I believe PAP is great in this respect. Because seriously I don't think all the 60% who voted PAP are happy with PAP.

Anonymous said...

Since all HDB flats belong to the government.

And since the $1.2 billion Bishan Park will enhance the value of HDB flats in Bishan belonging to the government.

It's a no brainer.

What is good for the government is NOT good for cancer patients.

Use the ballot box in GE 2016 to help the deaf frogs listen.

Anonymous said...

"Use the ballot box in GE 2016 to help the deaf frogs listen."
Anon 14/5/11 13:43

Forget it lah, if this round they still cannot do it.

Clear eyed said...

The PAP has not only lost its way and moral compass, it has its head as well. $1.2 BIILION for a glorified longkang?!!! The money could have been used to do so much good!

Sorry to rant but something I witnessed a couple of days back affected me so much I have to get it off my chest. Outside the UOB Bank in Orchard Rd a stocky foreigner in his 30s was directing an old lady cleaner twice his age to climb up a ladder to clean the top of the ATM machines. Every single one of them. Imagine, a young, hefty, robust foreign man instructing an elderly, frail Singaporean grandmother to climb a ladder to do cleaning! Our womenfolk, even the frail elderly ones, have indeed become maids. Not in another country but in our own land, and bossed over by foreigners.

Anonymous said...

oh dear

"This a govt that has lost its morality. This is a govt that has lost its way."

and the people has lost the courage to change and correct the govt.

Anonymous said...

"Outside the UOB Bank in Orchard Rd a stocky foreigner in his 30s was directing an old lady cleaner twice his age to climb up a ladder to clean the top of the ATM machines."
Clear eyed said...14/5/11 14:45

Like that ah, you will put a lot of things on your chest.

Take care ah, if not you will get chest pain or worse. And health care not cheap you know, as Lucky has pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Bringing the Kallang River into Bishan was the dumbest thing they should do. A complete waste of $1.28 billion that could be put to better use.

Who came up with this stupid idea must be in the league of the one who called for a contest to rename Marina South, only to keep the name unchanged after spending $400K. Should there be responsibility and accountability?

I guess the PAP has now run out of ideas about what else to upgrade, and are now upgrading our rivers, canals and longkangs.

Anonymous said...

I heard at a rally by one of the opposition parties that the incumbent party needs to "upgrade their brains". Seriously, as amusing as it might sound for starts, it might have a grain of truth in it.

There is a lot of benefits for the citizen when healthcare is universalized, whatever people might say or what not. Look at Canada, South Korea, Finland and Denmark. Even despite their high taxes in the case of Finland, Denmark and Canada, people are happier and they understand the need to have these taxes to maintain certain things such as the healthcare infrastructure, and what is more, healthcare is way cheaper and even "free" in some cases for a nominal insurance fee per quarter of the year!

Anonymous said...

Looks like when you are with the PAP it is like a big family. You don't have to worry about housing because the salary you get is more than enough to pay for it that's why they don't need to stay HDB flats. You don't have to worry about being sick because you have more than enough money to pay for your bills (with medisave, medishield and etc. actually you either don't have to pay anything or minimum. You don't have to worry about your children education because you have enough money to take care of it. No wonder children of PAP ministers are either doctors, lawyers and engineers.

Anonymous said...

I am a subsidised patient and I was just received a letter notifying me that my next appointment at SGH will be postponed for another 2 months, reason stated : Doctor on leave.

Everytime i go for my appointment, a different doctor attends to me and so don't tell me all the the doctors are on leave at the same time ?

What the fuck, is SGH so over-crowded now that subsidised patients are required to wait 5~6 months for their next apppointment ?

What kind of healthcare standards is that ?

Anonymous said...

Anon 15/5/11 00:24

Unless it is an emergency, the standard waiting time is at least 1.5 to 2 months. I speak from personal experience.

Want better and faster? Then pay much more lah!

If not ah, got money and no money still the same, then what's the use of having a lot of money, tio bo (right or not)?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Bishan River?

Should it not be Bishan canal?

I thought river is very, very wide and long one, like those in other countries.

Anonymous said...

This country has become "no small no big" where the old is discarded and the voices of the young reign supreme. What kind of fuck cabinet makes this kind of decision?

The two old man stepping down is not an issue. The fucking issue is why do older people need to fucking listen to the young?

This country still have a lot of older,wiser and mature folks who can even climb mount everest if they have the will. But yet, in the Internet age, the voices of the fucking young is telling the older folks that they should listen o them?

Fuck you.

PM, continue with your kind of fucking politics, you may divide this nation further between races, languages,religions and now....young and old.

You political party, totally inapt, has given more ammunition to the opposition, and any Tom DICK and Harry, to fucking fuck you in the next election.

So has SIN become No Country For Old Man?

No wonder even WP went with a YOUNGER candidate over a voiceless old man for NCMP.

Fucking political parties are fucking up this country

SIN has become the capital of Sodom and Gomorah of youthful lusts. And why not? The younger generation is making MORE MONEY or where the money is, therefore the YOUNG MARKET PLACE has become the voices of the nation!

Anonymous said...

thats why the saying: you can die here but cannot fall sick.
but anyway, the people have voted and prefer lousy medical, housing, transport, education, retirement.
i do not think the 60% will ever see the light. just like people believing in burning hell money to their dead family members.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we will get to see cracks within the PAP itself, and hopefully alot wider than the Bishan river.

Unfortunately, the chance to rock the PAP buggers was not taken by the 60%, it would have moved the ground from under their feet,
that of thieves and liars!

Had a fraction of the 60% done so, Sissy Loong will probably retire alot more Ministers and MPs other than old fart and old goh.

Anonymous said...

The Minister with the eight-dollar heart surgery - shouldn't he be the one studying alternative policies to make healthcare affordable for cancer patients? Especially in the light of George Yeo's call to PAP to transform themselves. Let's all pray very, very hard that this coming Vesak Day compassion may enter his heart and Singapore made a compassionate land for cancer patients and other patients!

Anonymous said...

Change is on the horizon. We are all carried by the winds of change. You hear the sound of it but you have yet to know where it is coming from.

Change is nature forces. Change is natural.

Anonymous said...

Cancer Patients.

Help yourselves.

Tell the politicians how you will be casting your votes if you don't get help.

shahri said...

pap is a government that won't changed its ways.It will always maintain that it is right.I am really afraid of the future.

Anonymous said...

"and some of my other grandparents died of cancer as smokers"

I dun know whether the garmen or taxpayers want to help this group of people or such.

Anonymous said...

Please stop the nonsense.

How can use 1.2 billion for a river? 1.2 billion is the money for upgrading AMK GRC for the next 5 years.

The treaty to buy water from Malaysia will be expired. No water means no Singapore. The river is a part of a bigger plan for Singapore to keep all the water.

Anonymous said...

anon 16/5 00.31 : Remember KBW telling people how he kept himself healthy and fit by excercising etc etc etc. And guess what, he had to go for a $8 bypass. Before you penned down your narrow thoughts, pls bear in mind that not all cancer patients are smokers. So, do be blame the carbon monoxide emitting from cars or do we blame the bush fires in Sumatra or genetics. Didnt you heard of health buff died while jogging in the parks. Nobody can predict the future. I wish evrybody the very best of health but in your case, perhaps the only way for you to have emphaty and compassion for other is to be strikened by cancer......and it will come to pass.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans have lost their morality.

Upgrading for compassion for the poor and helpless.

Anonymous said...

"Upgrading" of hearts in terms of compassion for the less fortunate is rare amongst Singaporeans if you ask me. I think that it is also the reason why 60% voted for the incumbent PAP, because they are only concerned with maintaining the status quo. People who are less fortunate and fall through the cracks are of no concern to them obviously. The mouth speaks one thing, the hand casts the vote, so only the vote counts for or against you. No one will ever know but the voter himself or herself why he or she voted as such.

Anonymous said...

easy, throw these cases to the opposition and lets see how "compassionate" they are

Anonymous said...

"easy, throw these cases to the opposition and lets see how "compassionate" they are

16/5/11 12:36"

You sound like you don't even bother enough anyway, to want to throw something which is a social duty of any human being to have compassion, to other people to display. Maybe you need to work on upgrading yourself, heart and all. What if you are the elderly or sick being thrown around from government to government?

Anonymous said...

You jokers mostly believe changes come from political parties and hence you votde them into power, and pay them handsomely, let them solve it then. PAP has their shot and felt short, according to dissidents, so lets see what opposition can do - fair

Anonymous said...

joker up there. tell me which legal system will bear responsibility if you take your own life?

MonaVie said...

Sadly, this is the reality of cancer patients. A friend of mine had to live in debts for his wife's cancer treatment. Unfortunately, even after paying for all those bills and be buried in debt, it does not assure survival for the patient.

muebles madrid said...

The chap is definitely just, and there is no doubt.