This report is an alternative report to our local MSM's spin on our health care system. The Taiwanese Minister of Health has criticized the Singapore's system as one that the government has shirked off their social responsibility towards the citizens in terms of providing basic health care.
Incidentally, I have been studying the Taiwanese Medical Insurance system which has provided a Universal coverage for ALL its citizens as well as foreign workers. I have put up my proposal to NSP manifesto committee on revamping the Medishield system.
The basic idea of this new Medical Insurance scheme is to have the government and employers to share part of the premiums paid as Medishield for their Singaporean workers. As for Foreign workers, the government will not share the burden of their premium while the employers will take up more of the responsibility.
This is a fair system whereby the Government and employers take up their social responsibility towards the citizens' health care insurance. The workers will still pay the bulk of the Medishield follow by their employers and the Government. For family members who are not gainfully employed, there will also be a co-payment of Medishield premiums.
The Medishield coverage should be widen. The payout by Medishield is only close to 55% of total premium collected for each year. This is lesser than Group Medical Insurance scheme, which has a much higher payout rate of 75%.
Anyway, the details of my proposal would be finalized in NSP manifesto in time to come. For the time being, here is the media report in Chinese, by Taiwanese online media (I have translated the important part mentioned about Singapore in the text below):
Yang Ziliang (Taiwan Minister of Health) said that Singapore's 3M system is basically a system that forces its citizens to pay for their own Medical Insurance (Medishield). i.e. taking money from the people. Thus, it is basically a system that consumers pay for themselves. If that is so, where is the Government's role in taking care of its citizens?
Yang Ziliang pointed out that it would be difficult for many countries to implement such a system because this system needs to force citizens to pay for their own medical insurance. But some of the lower income group who are not eligible for social welfare may have too low an income to have any deductions made from their salaries to pay for their own premiums. It would further lower their standards of living and this is against the spirit of social welfare and social responsibility (of the government).
At the end of the conference, many representatives including Indonesian, Malaysian and other countries concluded that Singapore's system may be good but it may only be implemented in Singapore as other countries may not be able to emulate it. Some have even used the failed experiment used by China as an example to reiterate this point.
On the other hand, Indonesian, Malaysian, Australian and other countries' representatives have indicated that they hope their own countries could take Taiwan's comprehensive Health Care Insurance scheme as a reference for their reform.
Goh Meng Seng