Saturday, May 07, 2011

Need for Change in Healthcare System

I would like to thank the person who brought my attention to this speech by Paul Ananth Tambyah. In his speech he brought up many issues that have been discussed in my blog about the healthcare system. The important thing is Paul Ananth Tambyah is in an insider, a professor, who works as a senior consultant at NUH.  He is not a candidate for the General Elections and not a member of the SDP but he stepped forward to tell us the need for change in this area:

"Medifund the endowment fund is limited to those who have already sold their homes and exhausted their children’s Medisave. Every year it is not fully utilised as it is so restrictive." - Paul Ananth Tambyah.

The problems with our healthcare system is also well known to medical social workers. You sit down with one and they can cite numerous cases of families that have been put through great financial strain when they fall through the cracks in the system. Singapore govt has the lowest healthcare expediture as a % of GDP among developed countries as healthcare cost escalates. The increased burden is passed on to the sick and their families. What good is all this wealth (concentrated in a small % of people) and GDP growth when the govt don't even take care of the sick - some have to go to Malaysia because they can't afford treatment here.

2 days ago, Mnister Khaw was still saying how good our healthcare system is and he attacked the changes proposed by the SDP. His strategy has been very simple - keep govt expediture down by passing the increasing healthcare cost to the sick and their families. We need major changes in healthcare just like we do in public housing.

Today think carefully about all the issues and vote wisely.


Amused said...

The country expects its citizens to serve NS and contribute to nation building (i.e. the reserves!) It is now among the world's richest countries, with super sized SWFs investing in OTHER countries. Unfortunately, many of its poor citizens who contributed so much do not get to share the wealth. I like the idea of giving every citizen a share of the SWFs. (e.g. Alaska residents get their share of oil revenue every year.) At least they will get decent dividends every year.

Anonymous said...

Some numbers again...

Aljunied, after boundary redraw -2%

41.9% + 7.5% swing, 49.4% +/- 2.5%, very close...

There's the insane probability 1 SMC, Hougang, being returned to Parliament. watching what Cherian George said, a possible end with no closure.

James Bono said...

Ruling party is only thinking of changing its style of governance not the substance of governance. Policies will not be changed but repackaged. Hence they will not take on board anything resembling the changes advocated by SDP or others.

Think of this when you go to the polls today.

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself this important question before you cast your vote:
Do you want to live in a country that you totally have no say on how to run the country?
Do you want to live in a country that has no accountability and transparency?
Do you want to live in a country that there is no social justice?
Whoever is the ruling party will not collapse the country simply because many able Singaporeans will come to contribute to the new government. Do you really believe only MIWs are the only able Singaporeans (some are not truely Singaporeans in fact).
Think and vote wisely.

Anonymous said...

This is taken from the TTSH website.
- Only Singapore citizens, admitted to B2 or C class ward and facing financial hardship are eligible to apply for Medifund.
- You will need to complete an application form and meet the Medical Social Worker for an assessment.
- The application will be considered by the Hospital Medifund Committee. The amount of help from Medifund will depend on individual circumstances and the patient’s financial background

Note: You need to get counselled by the social worker. The social worker will look at the house you stay in, whether you can draw on the medisave of your family members, whether you have a job or are truly destitute before considering giving you the money. It's like even though you're poor, you still have to prove that you're poor to get the (often times, once-off payment of) money, and I think the "proving" process in our current system, is soul sapping and dispiritng; and not honouring the worth of a human soul.

Anonymous said...

When PAP takes money from us, they snatch away from us so brazenly in broad daylight.

When it comes to helping the poor, they make it unnecessarily difficult, humiliate us and make us jump through hoops as if we are circus animals.

Robbing Hoods indeed.

Anonymous said...

If cost of today’s healthcare system are driven largely by medical companies and doctors; ie medicine, process and equipment are explored, developed and marketed by medical companies only to extract maximum profit and nothing else; doctors choose and aspire to maximise mostly materialistic gain (instead of say, varying degree of personal satisfaction of being a sort of “saviour”), then the only hope of helping the poor, the middle class or even the slightly- rich, would be to get these medical companies and some of the doctors to do the opposite....

Is that ever possible?

Anonymous said...

It is my duty to inform all of us that in the year 2011, our beloved government hiked the annual rent of Kwong Wai Shiu hospital from $1 to $1.4 millions.

Anonymous said...


That should descibe them well.

I cast my vote for change.

Anonymous said...

"I like the idea of giving every citizen a share of the SWFs. (e.g. Alaska residents get their share of oil revenue every year.) At least they will get decent dividends every year."

We still need a reasonable fair amount of reserves for unforeseen consequences, however not excessively.

For this to happen, they should tax lesser (lower gst or other forms of indirect tax reduction), so that individuals get to keep the benefits (savings) immediately & spending it in their own needful ways (spending is more democratized as sectoral favoritism in a big way is minimized).

Alternatively, tax wholesales (foreigners get captured) and redistribute back to citizens equitably and regularly & other meaningful sectoral spendings (e.g affordable night schools, healthcare, poor, etc).

The balance between the above two or further sensible alternatives should always be struck and the devil is always in the details in which we all know all too well whether it will ever be revealed to us.

Anonymous said...

If there is a referendum, I am sure majority will vote for universal healthcare rather than upgrading, asset enhancement etc.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be Singaporean and prepare to die for the nation. So today, for the love of country and country-men, my vote goes to the WP. Majulah Singapura!

Daily Struggles of a Singaporean Joe said...

One of the reasons I have voted was I did not want the prospect of a life threatening disease for my family or myself to plunge our family into DEEP debts.

Anonymous said...

My late father's health turned to the worst last year and passed away peacefully in hospital. For the past 6 months before his passing, he was taken in and out of hospital every 2 weeks for pneumonia. Every few days stay in the hospital caused him a few thousands dollars for his hospital bills which quickly depleted his medisave account until it ran out. We, his sons, had to foot the bill until his passing. Seriously, the healthcare system has to change. Those who did not face such situation will not understand until they face it and realize too late such high medical cost when they get old.

Anonymous said...

One most ridiculous thing about this country is that even social and welfare organisations have to raise funds by getting support from our citizens through the yearly charity shows. Where is the govt in this picture?

Anonymous said...

Somebody want to do a live update later? :p

Anonymous said...

What is happening to Singaporean is a vicious cycle of voting repeatedly only PAP as the majority ruling party.

Many Singaporean who went job hunting may found that their CVs or resumes with good educational qualification of working experience gone into waste as it did not help them getting a permanent job or just a job. Many ended up jobless, or on short term contract job, temp job or some job that nobody would like to do. Older and the less educated ended up as cleaners at food market or security guards. So was all the CVs and good education, upgrading ended as waste? No, not really, as least not for the other side of story. The CVs for those who did not get a job were recycled. They do not end up in the desk bin immediately, in fact they are useful for the company.

The shocking fact is that they are recycled either by Companies HR or recruitment agencies to employ foreign workers or what our GOV termed “Foreign Talents”. MOM or Ministry of Manpower will usually reject employment of foreigners at first try. But on appeal, if the Company or HR presented that they have conducted series of recruitment exercise, interviewed potential candidates will just need to recycle all the CVs and resumes collected during the recruitment exercise, present on the appeal that none of the candidates in the recycle list qualified for the job whereas the only the foreigner qualified. Having seen all the justifications by the appellant , MOM has no reason to reject the application. Who on MOM really check that Singaporean are no deprived the job? No, they will not, they depend on input from employers. Many of these employers could be either local companies or one of those foreign companies PAP GOV attracted to setup companies here with all kind of tax relieve incentives.

Many Singaporean CVs and resume could be sacrificed in justification to employ one foreigner for a vacancy. From MOM statistics, the foreigner should be better compare to Singaporean isn’t it? Imagine the whole stack of Singaporean did not made the mark while the only foreigner made it, he must be more talented, so they should be termed “Foreigner Talent”. Ask MOM, they will show you these facts, Singaporean are not better compare for foreigners, but is this true?

It is sad to see many highly educated graduates end up only with their good educations CVs used as justification for foreign employment. The PAP GOV implemented policies to welcome foreigner to work and contributed to Singapore, but when the administration are not checked to ensure the process is fair, Singaporean ended up in the losing end. No amount of apology can compensate the amount of pain Singaporean job hunters has suffered. So every time we see a foreigner PMET, his presence here is with the “blessing” and sacrifices of easily ten to twenty or even more Singaporean applicants. The system to check and ensure that Singaporean not deprived is not there, we need someone to ensure the GOV has such checking system.

Parents of current generation children who are struggling to get good grades, spending hundreds or thousands to get good education, I am sorry to say if these vicious cycle created by PAP GOV not stopped, your children’s CVs may ended up in MOM office for the justification for a foreigner whom may not be equally good. Graduates and job hunters who had send many CVs and resumes but who are in vain of getting a job, now you know why and where your CVs are.

Anonymous said...

HDB flats are another big issue, PM Lee said lets share Singapore. To truly share Singapore, we must truly own the only “asset” most Singaporean have in their lifetime here, their HDB flat. To convert “asset” to asset, it has to be freehold to Singaporean so that the amount of hard work we sweat and sow for one generation of hard work will not expire in 99 years time by HDB. Nobody gave HDB the mandate to “sell” HDB to Singapore under leasehold arrangement, how can they continue to do this to us from 1960s where most Singaporean are not well educated and do not really understand what leasehold meant to them. Now we know leasehold is not fair to us and future generation, we have to correct it now, these HDB vicious cycle must be stopped. As Singaporean, we should fight for our right to claim a piece of Singapore to be truly belong to us.

Why this vicious cycle? PAP GOV MPs are too happy with whatever system the put in place for so many years and will not likely to make any changes, we need opposition voices to do so. Many of us should regret not voting enough oppositions into parliament for so many years. Let’s not regret for not correcting the wrong this time.


Anonymous said...

I hope Tambyah isn't fixed by his speech for SDP during this elections. Lucky, please let us know if you see any news otherwise.

tablet pc said...

Here, I do not actually consider this will have success.