In my article on Lui Tuck Yew I mentioned two agents of change. The other is Gan Kim Yong. I have trouble trying to catch up with the initiatives he has started to revamp the healthcare business, or was it public healthcare? I could not imagine that there are still so many things to do to make the system betterer. Didn’t his predecessor did a good job and make life more cosy for him? Unlike Tuck Yew’s inheritance of a pail of transportation shit, healthcare was supposedly well taken care off, with mean testing and bringing cost down? Did cost really come down? Did mean testing really work or creating more unnecessary and stupid work?
It is revealed in the ST that when they calculate a patient’s means to subsidy, they included every children of the patient. If the patient has twenty sons and daughters, married or unmarried, all their incomes will have to be computed. Unbelieveable to even imagine. Ok, Gan Kim Yong has simplified this a little by only taking in the incomes of those staying with the patient. I am not sure how many letters and emails were sent to the US, UK, China, India or Australia to trace down the children of those patients to qualify for subsidies.
Though steps were taken to make mean testing less mean, a better way would be to make it simpler by doing away with this demeaning and invasive act of prying into people’s privacy in the name of fairness and subsidies.
Gan Kim Yong will be launching his affordable Healthcare 2020, to provide good quality and affordable healthcare with some tweaking to the Medisave Insurance scheme, with higher premiums to go along. Let’s hope his version of affordability is the version that the citizens can understand and appreciate and not the public housing kind.
He is also ramping up hospital beds and community healthcare services working with GPs in the neighbourhood. How would these measures affect the people and the high cost of medicare is still waiting to be seen. If they indeed bring benefits to the people, then he could be another big agent of change. Tentatively, everything sounds good on paper but what is real? Shouting affordability does not mean that it is affordable as public housing is a good example. The bottom line is how hard would the pockets of patients be hurt, be emptied? The affordable housing schemes have resulted in many Singaporeans with not enough for retirement, and with big mortgages that need two incomes and 30 years to repay. If this is the same kind of affordable thinking, then it will be another big disappointment.
One positive point about Gan Kim Yong is his demeanour and composure in Parliament. He responded to questions from all parties purposefully without being ruffled or resorting to making snide replies to belittle others. He is a gentleman in many ways and a role model to other politicians on how to behave well in Parliament.