SDP – MOH must tackle root cause of healthcare problems

The members of the Healthcare Advisory Panel from Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a press statement which express their support in Health Minister Gan Kim Yong's acknowledgment about high healthcare costs in Singapore and that Mr Gan has taken some measures to ease such costs for Singaporeans.

Prof Paul Tambyah, Dr Patrick Kee, Dr Leong Yan Hoi and Dr Wong Wee Nam jointly highlight their approval in particularly, the measures of making some parts of the recommended National Vaccination program for children free, the removal of the administrative charges for some Medisave use, and the promise to review healthcare costs for the people.

However they feel that these proposed changes seem to be piecemeal measures that do not tackle the fundamental issues in Singapore's healthcare system. They state that the current 3M system of Medisave, Medishield and Medifund will continue to leave a heavy financial burden on Singaporeans.

They proposed that in place of the current 3M system, there should be risk pooling in a national health insurance scheme which authorizes evidence-based healthcare.

"Healthcare provided through such national insurance coverage will make our system universal.We must jettison the mindset of equating government healthcare expenditure with welfare and waste. Healthcare is a basic human right, not a commodity. Spending on the people's health is an investment worth making." said in the press statement.

They proposed to the Ministry that the government should take up  70 percent of the total health care expenditure (THE) in Singapore which the developed countries are practicing, instead of the current 30 percent of the total health care expenditure to  help ease the financial pressure on Singaporeans.

They wish to remind Singaporeans that Medisave is part of the CPF savings and that the funds are quickly depleted when medical bills pile up. The more it is used, the lesser they would have for their retirement.

The panel states that the only way to make healthcare affordable and sustainable is to adopt the national insurance scheme proposed in the party's SDP National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans.