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3/30/2009

The business of keeping people alive

Mediacorp had a few news clips of the happy senior citizens in the homes or community hospitals over the weekend. They appeared healthy and enjoying every moment of their time alive. What they did not know is the heavy cost to keep them alive. From the look of it, the cost was paid by their children. Obviously they did not know that they were bankrupting their children or straining their financial resources just to keep them there. It is not cheap definitely. Ignorance is bliss but not for those who have to struggle to pay the bills. One is deemed financially able to foot the bills if the household income is above $1,500. Unbelieveable! Khaw Boon Wan has been in charge of the MOH for several years and have been working very hard to keep medical cost down. How successful has he been? Has medical cost come down or still spiralling up? The recent increase of fees in community hospitals is a testament that the cost is just going up. For those who are still healthy, pray not the day you have to be admitted to any hospitals or nursing homes. Many will not be able to afford it even with their Medisave and medical insurance. Some of their savings may not last even one month when the bill can go to tens or hundreds of thousands. With the high cost of hospitalisation and medical fees, everyone who is sick or ageing is a walking liability to himself and the family. And we celebrate for being able to keep people alive to 80, 90 or 100 years.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The next thing some Singaporeans have to worry about is the Government's intention to make patients pay for home pallative care, which is given free now by private charitable organisations.

I have a feeling that the MOH's intention is to cut down on their subsidies to these charitable organisations such as Hospices, thus they are floating this idea.

It does not augur well for those who cannot afford to pay. Why do people want to resort to home pallative care? Cost is one of the main reason, so asking them to pay will be as good as taking away their last cheaper alternative to taking care of sick parents or relatives at home.

It is a move in the wrong direction. The only reason given is that the present system is not sustainable. Everything is measured in dollars and cents, not on any other criteria.

First they give the impression that too many Singaporeans love to stay in hospitals, so they resort to means testing. Now, it looks like Singaporeans must have great love for home pallative care so they must pay to discourage them. How sad!

Lost Citizen

Anonymous said...

The problems of the aged are caused by the aged:

1. The aged who supported and gave total power to the one party rule in their belief that the pay-and-pay party would sincerely look after them when they are old.

2. The aged who continue to wield power and total control.

3. The aged who want to pay themselves millions in order to keep themselves at high places.

4. The aged who continue the apathetic attitude towards politics in the running of their country and their lives.

So, the business in not just of keeping people alive BUT of keeping people who are greedy for money and hungry for power alive.

Matilah_Singapura said...

No one in his right mind would ever trust the govt. to produce food, or iPods or clothing. The how come many people expect the govt to produce healthcare?

In the genetic realm, people are different. How long you might live, what diseases you're resistant or susceptible to largely depend on your genes. Not everyone will live long, some people will die young, or suffer terrible diseases — even though they've lived carefully.

But human beings with political power often refuse to accept reality. And so they invent arbitrary systems like "states" and "governments" who then make arbitrary laws and impose real theft called taxes — however for arbitrary reasons.

All this centralized-collectivized mechanisms are designed to hide reality, but eventually reality bites and the truth is revealed.

What are these truths which the government and the political process strive to obfuscate?

1. If you are born, you will die

2. You will at sometime fall ill and require medicines and medical treatment

3. The people who work to provide medicines and medical treament need to get paid for their work, just like everyone else

4. Producing medicines, medical equipment and medical training are long, expensive processes because huge safety issues. Human life is involved, and usually the lives in these situations are hanging by a thread. Thus the load on resources will always be huge as far as QUALITY health care production and delivery goes.

5. Given that sickness and death are a part of life, a rational conclusion can be drawn: the individual needs to put aside resources and engage in behaviours that are (in his self interest) likely to lead to higher probabilities of positive outcomes as far as his health and mortality are concerned.

i.e. live well, and make sure you can pay for medical expenses which you will — like everyone else — eventually occur in your lifetime.

However making excuses and screaming "tolong" to the govt is a whole lot easier.

Now you know why I don't vote.

redbean said...

i still advocate teaching people how to die and leave this world peacefully. when the time is up, no need to hook onto machines and impoverish everyone.

a living vegetable is suffering of the worst kind. the body is not functioning, neither is the brain. and the body will smell if not wash daily.

people must learn to liberate themselves from the flesh that is old and dying. and save themselves from being robbed of huge sums of money when they are just feeble and weak to enjoy them.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> people must learn to liberate themselves from the flesh that is old and dying. <

I wish you best of luck because that is a scientific impossibility.

Life itself is a fatal "disease".

Anonymous said...

There isn't any reason why the physical human body should decay, actually.

But that's part of life.

As an aside matilah is a heavy smoker if I recall correctly, haha.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Not anymore. Only the occasional cigar. Can't afford the filthy yet delightful habit any more in Australia, where being a smoker essentially means being a social outcast.

The govt won. I lost. I'll probably live longer so they can continue to tax me for longer. The govt wins again.

However I'm been increasing my visits to the (shooting) range (www dot lonerangers dot com dot au). According to statistics, playing with loaded firearms might correlate to increased mortality or risk of serious injury. However given the increasing crime stats it might be better to take my chances in a shootout with a burglar or home invader. I don't know.

All I know is we all die sometime. So better enjoy it while you can.

Anonymous said...

People shouldn't be worried when they grew old in Singapore. They can have free food, lodging, heathcare in Our island Hotel California. Just be a petty criminal and it can become a permanent job. Everything FOC for the price of freedom. Old people can consider lah. By the way, also help our country better employment rate. If we name it Criminal service recruit. LOL

Anonymous said...

Too many people wanting to live in Island Hotel California and they may ask them to pay, not FOC. You know how the system works.

Anonymous said...

The Man who brings You Living Hell was swearing that unfilial children deserved to be sent to Hell(Netherworld). How the Hell he could made that statement is both baffling and bewildering.

We are living in this little(physical) hell known as SINgapore

redbean said...

matilah said you can't cheat an honest man. there is another version. you can cheat god or natural justice.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Well, people can believe what they want to believe, even though I think they are wrong.

In time, everyone gets the hard-cold consequence of their beliefs. In that respect, there are very few bona fide cases of "victim-hood".