Currently, poorer segments of society do not get proper medical treatment because they cannot afford it. Even middle-income Singaporeans take on a heavy financial burden when they are hospitalised. The present profit-oriented system treats the sick like customers. But when we fall ill, we should not have to live in fear that treatment is going to ruin us financially.
The SDP’s National Health Care Plan aims to foster a universal health-care system that is compassionate and fair.
We will do away with the “3M” system (Medisave, Medifund and Medishield) and pay for all health-care expenses through a single pool of funds to which the Government contributes 84 percent. The money in our Medisave accounts will be returned to our CPF Ordinary Accounts.
Singaporeans will pay an average of $400 a year to the National Health Investment Fund (NHIF), depending on income levels. The NHIF contribution, which will be deducted from our CPF savings, is a fraction of what we currently pay into our Medisave accounts. Individuals who earn less than $800 a month, are unemployed or on social welfare will not be required to contribute.
If a Singaporean is hospitalised, he pays only 10% of his total hospital bill, capped at $2,000 per year. So if one’s hospital bill is $5,000, one need only pay $500. If the bill is $30,000, the patient pays a maximum of $2,000.
If a Singaporean visits a GP at a family clinic to get treatment for common ailments like coughs and colds, the government pays $10 of the bill and the patient foots the remainder. Co-payment will prevent abuse of the government subsidy.
Singaporeans who do not contribute to the NHIF (low-income, unemployed or welfare recipients) will not have to make payment.
All public hospitals will run only one class of 2-bed wards instead of the present 4-class system (A, B1, B2 and C). This ensures that those who need urgent treatment get it first, regardless of ability to pay.
Health care is a human need, not a commodity to be traded; the rich should not be able to buy immediate and better treatment while the poor have to wait months on end to receive basic medical care. The SDP’s proposed system aims to be more equitable and sustainable.
Read the full paper SDP’s National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans here.