SPH and Mediacorp censoring news of SDP’s proposal on alternative healthcare scheme?

On 11 May (Saturday), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) shared a new plan for Singapore’s healthcare system in order to make it fairer and more sustainable.

Disclosing this proposal at its office, SDP said that Singapore’s current 3Ms (Medisave, Medishield and Medifund) should be scraped off and be replaced with a single-payer insurance scheme.

The plan was laid out by its Chairman Professor Paul Tambyah and CEC member Khung Wai Yee, and the party said that the current 3M system did not meet the healthcare needs of the people.

During the launch, Mr Khung pointed out that Medisave is funded by taking a significant chunk from Singaporeans’ CFP funds, reducing their savings meant for retirement. Meanwhile, Medishield Life is also lacking in that the deductible is as high as $3,000 which makes it hard for less well-off patients. The scheme also under-insures Singaporeans which is why we have to maintain a large Medisave account of about $50,000 per person.

As an alternative, SDP introduces a new plan called National Health Investment Fund (NHIF) which will get everyone to contribute an average of S$50 a month (depending on income levels) through their CPF – an amount lower than the current Medishield Life premiums.

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.

As to how payments will be made under NHIF, the party revealed that a patient only pays 10 percent of the hospital bill and the amount is capped at S$2,000 per year. The balance will be paid by the NHIF.

Now, what is rather surprising is that publications of both Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp (with the exception of Lianhe Zaobao) fail to report on this proposal presented by SDP.

Given that healthcare is an important issue affecting a large number of Singaporeans, it is quite puzzling to see these large media corporations remain silent on matters that are of public interest.

Furthermore, TOC understands that while the two media companies did not send their representatives down to the press conference, a press release of the healthcare plan was sent to all.

If that is not all, in the past months, Straits Times and Mediacorp sites Channel NewsAsia and Today Online have published various issues involving SDP like the fine slapped on the party’s John Tan and Jolovan Wham for scandalising the judiciary in their Facebook posts, the party’s election campaign for the next general election as well as SDP’s loss in seeking for a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

As such, it’s surprising to see these news sites have neglected to cover the opposition party’s latest healthcare scheme, despite it being an important announcement. Will this represent a new trend in local mainstream where only negative news are reported of alternative political parties and positive news are censored?