The $8.00 operation
I recalled in 2010, one of our Singapore ministers had a heart bypass operation and he bragged to the whole world that he only paid S$8.00 for the hospital bills. I believe this is because he had bought expensive private insurance schemes that covered his hefty hospital bills. He even went on to marvel at the beauty of Singapore healthcare system, which consists of "3M" - Medisheld, Medisave and Medifund. Well I don't know what was his real intentions when he made those statements back then but I was not impressed at all. There are a lot of Singaporean who did not benefit from 3M and my family clan is one of them. When my family received the hospital bills. we were all shocked. After all, we thought my late father-in-law had bought medishield and it should not be so expensive. So I visited CPF website and found out that the maximum payout per policy year is $50,000. So after subsidy, medishield claim and the little amount of medisave my father-in-law had, we still had to pay ten of thousands dollars. We are not rich, nor do we belong to the low income group. So we were told by the social worker that we were not entitled to Medifund, which will kick in only after we exhausted all our Medisave and monies in the bank.
Where got help?
To the rich people, especially our Ministers who are multi-millionaires, healthcare costs is not a concern for them. They can easily afford to pay expensive premiums to shield themselves from hefty hospital bills. Therefore many of the Ministers were unable to relate to most Singaporean's concerns of hefty hospital bills and their stance is always that the Singaporeans are heavily subsidized and that immediate family should shoulder the costs instead of relying on government's aid. Well firstly, I must say that providing affordable healthcare services to Singaporean should be considered as one of the fundamental duties of our government. It should not be considered as a form of welfare as we protect and contribute to the nationbuilding. So the nation should take care of us when we grow old. Secondly, many Singaporean belongs to the sandwiched and middle-income group. Many of us have aged parents to take care of but many of us are not eligible for the subsidies because of our income limits. So whenever the Minister boosted that various helps and schemes are in place for needy Singaporean, it sound so hollow to me. They made it sound so easy yet when you tried to apply for financial assistances, so many harsh conditions were attached.
Sometimes it makes me wonder the true value of being a Singaporean. We contributed actively to the economy when we are young yet the government is unwilling to take care of us when we are old and ill. What a raw deal.