revisiting means testing
Revisiting Means Testing Of the many reasons behind means testing is the assumption that family is the core and all family units are functional. In the Singapore of today, when many are trying to make ends meet, the family unit that is intact is probably the parent and small children. The parents will often sacrifice for their children, paying and giving without asking for anything in return. Unfortunately this only holds true when the family is young. When the children have grown, it becomes to each his own. An extended family or a bigger family may look good on paper, with household income of $5k a month, but 5 or more mouths to feed. And bet you, this is not a large sum and a lot of tightening is still required. And when it comes to a big lump sum to be paid, many do not have the spare capacity to do so. A $10k or $20k hospital bill is going to turn their lives upside down. The premise that children must pay for their parents, when children have children to pay for, is stretching the ability a little too far. But of course, when children are earning a million a year, filial piety is a given. For there are a lot of spare cash flowing around. Thinkings of people earning millions are definitely different from those earning a couple of thousands a month. Even husband and wife may not be on speaking terms or on the verge of a divorce. So would a cash rich husband or wife be forced to pay for a spouse that they would not want to see for the rest of their lives? We may have laws to enforce such payments. But if the paying party just refuse to oblige, the problem is still with the patient. What can the law do? Or can the hospital says, your husband or wife or children must pay. Otherwise the bill is still your problem? How I wish all the Singaporeans are all earning a million dollars and their family units are functional. The reality is far from it. And paying hospital bills can break up family ties and strain relations.