Hard choices on healthcare?

We are so rich today, probably with trillions in our reserves. No one outside the govt really knows how much is there. Only a very privilege few would have this access. President Ong asked for it but did not get the answer. And after so many years have passed, the answer is still not forthcoming. And the Govt is so proud to declare that only 1.6% of our GDP was spent on healthcare.

When the country was poor, barely anything in the reserves, we were able to provide free healthcare to our citizens, rich or poor did not matter. I have weekly dental treatments at the Institute of Health all for free in the late 50s and early 60s. My God how did they do it? They even sent a big and comfortable coach to fetch the students for medical treatments, extraction, fillings and fixing dentures. All free! The Govt was poor but caring, with priorities in the health of the citizens. Who would not vote for such a Govt? The Govt had good solid support from the people for at least 30 years. Today some fools were chastising the pioneers for voting the PAP then.

Today we have a better healthcare system that is more like Frankenstein. You don’t want to be treated. You can’t afford to be treated and be given a deadly bill that may kill you instantly. It is right for Hsien Loong to remind the people, ‘But every dollar spent on healthcare is a dollar “taken from taxpayers, and one dollar less to be spent somewhere else, whether it’s on education , on healthcare, on housing, on defence or on the personal needs of our people.’

Fully agree. A very wise and prudent statement. I would like to add, every dollar spent on foreign students, or $2 billion dollars on last count, is money taken from our taxpayers that should rightly be spent on the children of taxpayers. Tiok boh? And if $2b and still going up, if this could be cut off from funding foreign students, maybe the choice for healthcare need not be so hard. And if we stop spending on the extravagance, parties, education trips, ego trips, helping countries that don’t need our help, I think our health choices could even be easy, or at least easier. No one is asking for a return to the good old days and the good old PAP days when health care is practically free. 

If we save a few dollars here and there instead of wasting on monuments, vanity projects and building monuments for other countries, I think things would be very different. We need wise leaders to spend our taxpayers’ money wisely. Knowing prudence and to talk about prudence is the beginning to wisdom. Get the priorities right! Stop spending OPM like a rich man's son.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

To survive in this tiny crowded
city state one thing you MUST
have is......

$$$$$$$...Money and More Money...

No Money No Talk!


Anonymous said...

What about this statement?
Is it true or not?

But every dollar < invested by Temasek and GIC > is a dollar “taken from taxpayers, and one dollar less to be < invest> somewhere else, whether it’s on education , on healthcare, on housing, on defence or on the personal needs of our people.’

Anonymous said...

"We need wise leaders to spend our taxpayers’ money wisely."

If you want such leaders, then I think maybe you will have to vote Opposition.
No Singaporean joins Opposition Parties to become rich.

Anonymous said...

No need, no need. All the wise leaders are in the PAP. They are spending your money wisely.

Matilah_Singapura said...


Those times where students had free dental at the Dental Clinic in Outram are long gone lah. Anyway, do you remember how it was? No aircon, a large room filled with dental chairs, and lest you forget DENTAL STUDENTS doing the work on school children.

Suffice it to say, the outcomes were generally good. Singapore at the time had milk programs, BCG vaccination in schools and dental care, and we all grew up fit and healthy with very little problems, and tuberculosis was essentially wiped out in less than a generation.

BTW, tax rates then were around 40%. The Bretton-Woods gold standard was in place, so there was very little cost inflation. There was no MAS/ central bank, Treasury, situated in a small office on the Singapore River bank, issued the currency.

The world has changed since then, and we're not going back to the 1960's.

Offering sophisticated world-class healthcare to an entire population is very expensive business. Healthcare takes 15% of the budget---generally speaking---more than defence or education.

If the govt doesn't have a component where the patients must pay part of their way in treatment, the whole system is likely to collapse from exhaustion.

I still maintain that the Singapore public healthcare system is going to be one of the best in the world---in terms of delivery standards, outcomes and capital efficiency.

But of course, people are going to disagree with me, but fuck them...when they get sick, they're going to be thankful that there're people and systems there to save their entitled lives :-)

Anonymous said...

If Yanis Varoufakis (Greece Finance Minister) were a Singaporean, I wonder what he would say to PAP's Lee Hsien Loong about PAP's CPF and Healthcare schemes?

Amortal said...

Uncle Red Bean,

If I were you, I would not take his words seriously already. Why?

Because there has been too many occasions when he had said one thing but his action was just the opposite. That is why there is now a "crisis of trust".

Just give you two very clear examples:

1. When he initially took over from GCT, he openly declared he would give us more freedom, but in the next year he introduced 19 new laws and 20 amendments to stifle and restrict freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement. And after 10 years under his premiership, the Mass Media and SPH are still totally under his control directly or indirectly. Moreover, he is still going on and on, relentlessly, trying to stifle, restrict and control the Internet and Cyberspace, probably for his own and PAP's undemocratic and selfish reasons.

2. He also told us and encouraged us to use CNG cars to help make a cleaner environment and save the world but until today there is effectively only one CNG pump station at Old Toh Tuck Road. The other two stations, at Serangoon North and Mandai, are too highly priced with a difference of as much as 63 cents per kg. In Australia and even in a third world country like India, they have CNG stations all over the country. If he had truly wanted our people to use CNG cars, why restrict them with only one CNG pump stations? All he had to do was to give the direction to all the fuel pumping stations to cater for CNG customers. Then you will see everyone converting to CNG cars.

Moreover, he introduced a new tax called the Fuel Excess Tax of 20 cents per kg for all CNG fuel users. This is obviously a disincentive, not encouragement! So, is it because of collecting less tax that he has been so reluctant to make CNG available island-wide?

Now, come to your point of health care. He is telling us to be prudent in health care spending but he is so extravagant when come to spending on ministerial salaries and civil servants bonuses, foreign students, foreign aids and lavish celebrations. It is obvious to me that he had rather spend billions of dollars on foreign students in order to "entrap" them to become New Citizens, who would willingly vote for the PAP, and so reward himself for his time spend on thinking on how to "buy voters' votes'" instead of spending the same taxpayers' money upon his own citizens. Perhaps, I think, most likely, he thinks that local people, especially those from the younger generations, are now turning against the PAP and would probably not vote for him and his PAP. So, in order to save PAP from its demise, he had to by hook or by crook, find ways and means to ensure PAP would not fall and can continue to enjoy the out-of-this-world salaries forever and ever. So, probably he
thinks like that the money is well spent, as far as PAP is concerned.

His statement of "Growing the GDP AT ALL COSTS", as I see it, could be linked to getting more and more money in order to finance his scheme of "buying new citizens" to ensure PAP will be the government and entrench itself forever and ever.

If you were to examine every single policy in depth, you will likely find that the fundamental overall strategy, which cannot be revealed to the public, is to entrench and prolong the PAP in power for as long as possible, if not forever. What do you think Uncle Red Bean? May be I am wrong?

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Tiok! Its hard choices to him because his conscience pricks him for not doing the right thing right lah. Conscience very important leh - otherwise continue like that again and again, the Cancer Cells dormant inside his body may one day decide to cry father cry mother also leh. Then how?

Anonymous said...

Why is the choice on healthcare so hard?
Is it because it conflicts with the PAP principle of "what's wrong with collecting more money"

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

There is a spoken truth and unspoken truth. You have to make out which is the real truth.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. arse Loong.
I will now come out of retirement and teach you how to spend healthcare dollars wisely.

Spend money on a nation wide program of preventive medicine.
e.g. vaccines, good dental care, physiotherapy etc.
Then you no need to spend so much money building so many new hospitals.

Prevention is better than cure. Your father never teach you meh?

Anonymous said...

Do other rich people also say "What's wrong with collecting more money?"

What is the richest man (Bill Gates) in the world doing with his time and money?
- I suggest you follow Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation on twitter to find out.




Not all rich people are like our PAP Millionaires.

"We work to help all people lead healthy, productive lives, focused on health, poverty, and opportunity. Follow our work."
Gates Foundation.

Does Bill Gates find the choice on healthcare so hard?

Anonymous said...

Everything also very hard for PAP Millionaires.
Only thing that is easy is collecting more money from Singaporeans.
Is this true? You tell me lah!