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10/19/2006

high medical cost or how to pay?

Khaw Boon Wan in front page news again, in the limelight as the fighter to bring down medical cost. Or maybe I should rephrase it, to make medical cost affordable, or maybe more precise, how to make payment in a way that is easier on the pocket throught extended payments instead of at one go. Am I confusing? I just got this feeling that everyone is barking at the wrong tree, missing the problem or avoiding the real cause of the problem and going around offering solutions which they think are really solving the problem. It is very similar to the problem of traffic congestion. If the road users are constant, if the roads available are the same, no matter how much one increases the ERP charges, there will be congestion if not at point A or road A, it will be at point B or road B, or hopefully, the drivers give up and take public transport. The real problem with medical cost is medical cost. If the cost of medical care is high, no matter how much insurance, how much co payment, how many types of medishield, someone must pay. It is either you pay first or pay later. Or it could be the majority of non users subsidising the minority of big users. Or worst, it could be the poorer group subsidising the richer groups who used private hospitals or A wards. Though they may contribute higher premiums, but their claims are that much more in relation to what they put in. That's what insurance is all about. Pooling of funds. So whoever uses more is being subsidised by those who don't use. Now, do we understand where is the real problem?

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