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Janice Tai
Thursday, Jul 3, 2014

Singapore

MediShield Life subsidies disappointing: SDP

The Straits Times | Janice Tai | Thursday, Jul 3, 2014

The Singapore Democratic Party has backed the Government's move to increase health- care expenditure - but branded the rise "minuscule".

"It is a step in the right direction and will ensure that Singaporeans receive the kind of health care that they deserve," said its Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan in a statement yesterday.

Yet the party also found the subsidies given for MediShield Life "disappointing".

"Considering that our nation's total health-care expenditure tops S$12 billion a year, the Government's latest subsidy increase is a minuscule 6.5 per cent," he said.

Last week, the Government had said it will spend S$4 billion over the next five years on subsidies for MediShield Life.

The SDP raised concerns that the subsidies may not go to patient care but rather to the MediShield Life provider.

It took issue with having the premiums for the national insurance scheme taken from Medisave accounts, saying that Medisave money is drawn from Central Provident Fund accounts, in which not much money is left after people pay off their housing loans.

The recommendations of the MediShield Life Review Committee, which were accepted by the Government, only adds another layer to an already confusing system, said the party.

"It continues to place the burden on the people without significantly making a dent in health-care costs," said Mr Chee, noting that Medisave, MediShield and Medifund together account for less than 10 per cent of total health expenditure here.

Instead, the party proposed making health-care payment simpler by having people put in an average of S$400 a year into a National Health Investment Fund and scrapping Medisave, MediShield and Medifund.

"The SDP will present our alternative health-care policy to the people at the next general election," said Mr Chee.

jantai@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 1, 2014.
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