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2/08/2006

expensive health care

i have touched on this topic many times and will continue to bring it up every now and then until the cost of health care becomes reasonable to the average singaporeans. for this is going to be a pain to many singaporeans as age catch up with them but without the money catching up with the high cost of healthcare. and many singaporeans know that this is a serious problem close to their heart. the government's health care expenditure for the year 2004 is $1.71 billion or about $500 per citizen using a rough population of 3 million. on the other hand, govt subsidy for healthcare is a whopping $1.28 billion for the same year. now that is very high indeed. in fact far too high if one extrapolates on the amount of subsidy to the actual users. why is the govt unable to bring down health cost? or are we having the same kind of formula or logic used in the computation of hdb flats and subsidies? there is no reason for healthcare to be so expensive when all the people needs is basic healthcare. maybe a different set of figures shall be produced to look at health expenditure according to the classes of wards. how much is being subsidised at the lower end and upper end. i always call for govt hospitals to provide decent and adequate healthcare and not the luxurious kind. the latter can be provided by the commercial hospitals. and if govt hospitals do provide such services, there must be no subsidy. but the bottom line is still the factors used in coming out with the cost of healthcare.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

it is a known fact that our very very senior stateman used our Public hospital.

Not to dissapointed these VIP, and to impress them, hospital's adminitrator must acquire the latest and state-of art equipment. Furnishing also must be out of normal. All don't come cheap.

Since our VIPs are paid commercial rate salary, which are abnormally high, they should be persuaded to use Private hospital. Maybe do a mean test on them if they qualify.

redbean said...

there are several policy matters that i don't agree with and in my view are not good for the people and nation. and medical care/cost is one such area that needs a thorough review.

like security and education, you cannot simply turn these functions into profit making businesses. we are talking about running a nation and not a commercial enterprise. not everything should be valued in dollar and cents and not everything shall be managed just for monetary profits.

there are things that are intangibles and have higher values than mere dollars. the people who sacrificed for ns did not get their rewards from the country in terms of dollars. this is a national debt that the country owes to the ns men.

a country that does everything in terms of money would soon lose its soul as a nation. if the govt always think in terms of money, then the people will learn to be as calculative and will respond only in terms of money.

when that happens, we will no longer be a nation.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The reason health care is expensive is because it operates as a govt proetected monopoly.

Suppoing you were a gifted natural healer - try and set up shop and they'll bust you for not being "academically qualified" or "trading without proper permits and licenses".

The sooner we get real free market competition in the health care market, the better deal for all. There are many therapies and procedures which are way, way cheaper and probably safer than some of the "main stream" methods.

The belief that you have to be "a doctor" to heal the sick is bullshit.

redbean said...

the control and licencing have its good and bad points. from the positive side there are more consistency and predictability. but the problem is always the over regulation and control which distorts the true picture and value.

would it be nice if they allow the setting up of a non specialist centre for all the natural and faith healers and the quacks. buyer's beware.

there are certain amount of these being allowed through mediums and spiritual help. but for them to officially sanction it is unlikely.

there goes your free enterprise.

i have been treating many people since i was a child with herbs and i have had many grateful patients but no income. sometimes lucky i got an angpow.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Right. I agree that licencing and regulation is necessay for "professionalism" and to ensure customer trust.

But there is NO REASON that the govt should be the ones to do it.

In the free market there'll be competeting regulation and licencing agencies, all fee based. After a time the market will consolidate, and the best one(s) will lead - i.e. the customers will trust them.

In that way, naturopaths, herbalists, Traditional Medicine practitioners, shamans, boh mohs and the sellers of "magic stones" can compete head to head with Havard medical graduates.

Let the customer decide.

redbean said...

so my suggestion for a non specialist centre may be a solution. or maybe call it more blatantly, a bomoh centre or tangkee centre. or spiritual healing centre.

then with a big signboard saying 'come at your own risk.' the govt shall not be responsible for any harm arising from visits to the centre. caveat emptor!

Matilah_Singapura said...

Caveat emptor anyway lah.

If the surgeon at NUH cocks up, do you think it will be easy to sue him?

hahaha...

redbean said...

caveat emptor is applicable only when there is no negligence or foul motive. no cheating.

like nkf, people gave their money with eyes wide shut. but if there is cheating, nobody can run and nowhere to hide.