Need to rethink S’pore’s health-care philosophy

SINGAPORE – Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam is the Workers’ Party’s point man on health-care issues.

He speaks to Andrea Ong about what he thinks needs to change in health-care financing and public transport policies, and the difference between being moderate and sitting on the fence.

Q: What outcomes do you hope to see from the ongoing MediShield Life review?

Three days after the MediShield Life review committee was set up, I made an adjournment motion speech in Parliament where I made a few proposals about how we can improve Medishield.

It’s a good thing that they are looking at expanding the coverage to ensure that everybody is covered, even those with pre-existing illnesses. But my concern is the new premiums.

I accept that increased coverage will come at a cost, but the question is who should bear the cost increases – should it all be the policyholders or can the Government shoulder some of it? Will there be certain groups of people who would find it difficult to cope?

This is why I proposed a Medishield subsidy scheme, where vulnerable groups of people, like the elderly with low income, people who have exhausted their Medisave accounts, people with disabilities and low-income people who already qualify for other Government help schemes, could qualify.

I suggested pre-qualifying them, so they don’t need to apply separately for subsidies.

Experience shows that when you require people to apply for subsidies, many end up falling through the cracks because they may not be aware of the schemes or how to apply.

-By Andrea Ong Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014, Singapolitics

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1f52C7I

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