Paul Tambyah speaks in healthcare forum

February 19, 2013
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Associate Professor Paul Tambyahexplained the SDP’s position on healthcare reform and called for theGovernment to shoulder greater responsibility when it comes tonational expenditure on medical costs.$CUT$

He was speaking at a forum titledHealthcare Policy and Values in Singapore, Now and in the Futureorganised by the TembusuCollege, National University of Singapore.

Theother speakers were in agreement that the Government’s portion ofhealthcare expenditure was too low. According to a report by Today,even PAP MP Dr Lam Pin Min agreed with the Prof Tambyah that the Governmentneeded to increase its share of the cost.

None of the media reports mentioned that Prof Tambyah was expounding the SDP’s healthcare policy which was launch in April last year.

Theforum, chaired by Professor Tommy Koh, was held yesterdayevening and included Fortis Hospital CEO, Dr Jeremy Lim, and Professor of Healthcare Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of PublicPolicy, Dr Phua Kai Hong.

The speakers were of the view that the3M system of Medisave, Medishield and Medifund were inadequate tomeet the medical needs of Singaporeans.

Professor Tambyah, who is a member of the SDP’s Healthcare Advisory Panel and was a potential SDP candidate for the Punggol East by-election, spoke about the Democrats’call for the 3M system to be scrapped and replaced by the asingle-payer system called the National Health Investment Fund, orNHIF.

Under this plan, Singaporeans will pay into the NHIF $600 a year for those earning $1,500 and above, $300 for earning below $1,500. This will be deducted from one’s CPF account. The amount is a fraction thatSingaporeans currently pay into their Medisave account (average of $1,600 a year).

TheGovernment will make up the remainder of the NHIF funds needed tocover the overall national healthcare expenditure.

If hospitalised, a patient pays only 10percent of the bill from his/her own pocket which is capped at$2,000. The rest of the bill is paid from the NHIF. That is, if the bill is$3,000, the patient pays 10 percent of the total which is $300. Ifthe bill comes up to $20,000 or more, the patient pays $2,000 (10percent capped at $2,000).

In addition, under the SDP plan, theNHIF pays $10 of the medical bill if one falls ill and visits thefamily clinic or polyclinic.

The SDP’s healthcare plan aims to makehealthcare in Singapore universal, affordable and sustainable.Singapore is one of the last few remaining countries in the worldthat has yet to make healthcare universal.

The PAP runs the healthcare system on aprofit-making basis leaving many Singaporeans, especially those inthe lower income groups in financial difficult when they fall ill. Many poorer Singaporeans put off seeing the doctor because of expensive medical fees. As a result, their illnesses deteriorate which become more expensive to treat.

The Tembusu forum seems to have been organised as a result of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong’s signal to reviewhealthcare costs. Mr Gan’s response comes on the heels of theSDP’s launch of our healthcare plan.

This is responsible and effective opposition. The SDP will continue to not onlypoint out the shortcomings and failures of the PAP’s policies butalso draw up solutions to help better the lives of our people. We will continue to work towards being acompetent, constructive and compassionate party.


Read the the entire paper here
: The SDP National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans