Over the weekend, Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Paul Tambyah and Central Executive Committee (CEC) member Khung Wai Yeen proposed to do away with MediSave, MediShield and MediFund, in order to introduce a single-payer insurance scheme for Singapore’s healthcare system.
The SDP pointed out that at last count, reserves in Medisave stood at S$88 billion. And that even so, Singaporeans were still under-insured by MediShield Life.
Mr Khung also said that a large portion of people’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings are utilised for healthcare instead of being saved for retirement.
Prof Tambyah said that the SDP Plan would do away with the 3Ms (MediSave, MediShield and MediFund) and the funds in Medisave would be returned to the people’s CPF accounts.
The SDP proposed a National Health Investment Fund, or NHIF, “to which everyone Singaporean contributes an average of $50 a month (depending on income levels) through their CPF”.
The rest of the healthcare budget under the NHIF would be paid for through taxes collected by the government. The NHIF would cover every Singaporean for basic healthcare including accidents and pregnancy.
They also said that with this new system, a patient pays only 10 percent of the hospital bill and the amount is capped at S$2,000 per year. The remainder will be paid by the NHIF.
Prof Tambyah said : “Healthcare is treated like a commodity where people avoid important primary healthcare services because of the costs and end up spending a lot of money treating complications that could have been prevented”.
“As a medical professional, I feel that this is not right. We should ensure that there is equal treatment for all, care based on clinical need and not on ability to pay,” he concluded./TISG