The SDP welcomes Health Minister GanKim Yong’s acknowledgment about high healthcare costs in Singapore.We are also pleased to note that he has take some measures to easesuch costs for Singaporeans, in particular$CUT$
1. making some parts of the recommended National Vaccination program for children free,
2. removing the administrative charges for some Medisave use, and
3. promising to review healthcare costs for the people.
However, these proposed changes seem tobe piecemeal measures that do not tackle the fundamental issues inour healthcare system. The current 3M system of Medisave, Medishieldand Medifund will continue to leave a heavy financial burden onSingaporeans.
In its place should be risk pooling ina national health insurance scheme which authorizes evidence-basedhealthcare. Healthcare provided through such national insurancecoverage will make our system universal.
We must jettison the mindset ofequating government healthcare expenditure with welfare and waste.Healthcare is a basic human right, not a commodity. Spending on thepeople’s health is an investment worth making.
As such, the people should be able toexpect the Government to shoulder the major part of the nation’stotal healthcare expenditure (THE). Presently, the Government’sexpends only about 30 percent of the THE. We should bring it todeveloped country levels of about 70 percent.
This would help ease the pressure onSingaporeans especially when they meet with catastrophic illnessesand require extensive and intensive medical care.
Singaporeans must remember thatMedisave is taken from our CPF savings. The funds are quicklydepleted when medical bills pile up, either for ourselves or for ourparents and/or children. The more we use our Medisave, the less wehave for our retirement.
A national insurance scheme like theone we propose in the SDP National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans, where we pool ourhealth risks, is the only way that we can make healthcare not onlyuniversal but also affordable and sustainable.
Such a system emphasizes the ‘we’instead of the ‘me’ and builds a compassionate community where we lookout for one another.
Leong Yan Hoi
Wong Wee Nam
for the SDP Healthcare Advisory Panel