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4/08/2007

Means Testing is back

Means Testing is back People opt for C wards mainly for two reasons. The first is affordability. The second is an age old wisdom called thrift. For those who are hard on their cash flow, looking at the statistics provided in the MSM, probably 50% of the population will be hardup when faced with a huge hospitalisation bill, this is understandable. The other of course is a great virtue, thrift, spending within your means so that one will not become a burden to other people or society. And no one knows how much one really needs to have to be enough. Thus being thrifty is the best guarantor to be self sufficient. Should our official policy frown on people being thrifty and choose to endure the lesser comfort of a C ward than the creature comfort of A and B wards? There is subsidy and so people are deemed to cheat or deprive others from the subsidy. Good reason. I will never be a cheat because I have a million in my saving. Not yet actually. Still waiting for the Toto winning to fill it up. Maybe next week. When there are so many people demanding for C wards, it means that there is a genuine need for such level of services. It is good reasoning to say that we must always level up, upgrade the quality of our services. Who does not want that? Unfortunately, the income of most people are not levelling up. Many have stagnated and going downhill and would make do with lesser quality of services. Insurance and Medisave are not a real alternatives. They suck away the little cash that the lower income people have for other necessities in living. These people have limited income and any amount stased away for medical uses will mean that some thing has to go. And if we let this great quality of medical service and cost to runaway, it will only mean that the lower income earners are going to be poorer overall. It is a zero sum game when every cent counts.

4 comments:

visiting visitor said...

There is a limited supply of C class beds. Supply is limited further when a wealthy person chooses C class, rather than B2, B1 or A class, or even Mount Elizabeth.

But the old uncle and auntie living in a 3-room flat don't have that choice. They can't go to Mount Elizabeth when the C class beds run out.

Or, to rephrase, isn't offering the same C-class rate to rich and poor people alike a regressive thing? Why is regressive tax bad, but not a regressive fee system?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the solution is to introduce a non-subsidised no-frill ward for the thrifty.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't KBW himself say in May last year that there would be no means testing for 2 years. Now he's saying it may be introduced within 12 months. This sounds like going back on his word. And coming from a person who claimed in May last year that he doesn't tell lies.

redbean said...

hi visiting visitor,

welcome to the chat.

i don't have the statistics on how many rich people will want to rough it out in the C wards. there will be some misers around but many are just cautious in spending away their hard earned money. money does not come easily to many people. and some fear losing them when they need the money most.

then there is the consideration of supply and demand. when there are more demand for C class, then something must be done to increase the supply.

public service is to provide a service needed by the people and not a service determined by the provider. if the provider insists on providing a heavenly service at a heavenly price that the people refuse to bite, then there is a mismatch of expectation. a monopolistic service like health care must not be determined by someone who demands that the people must pay for what he thinks is good. this is not right. just because the service provider everyday eats sharksfin, he must insist that others also eat sharksfin. the principle of public service is wrong.

if it is private hospital, ok, it is a business and they determine what level of service they want to sell and let there be willing buyer and willing seller. here we have an unwilling buyer force by the seller to buy his service at his price. and he refuses to sell a lower quality product that the buyer's preferred.

what anonymous said is worth considering. provide something that the customer wants, no frill.

redbean said...

did he promised anything during the election? let him answer himself.