20140831 PAP – talking a lot but resolving nothing on healthcare issue

Citizens should be wary of PAP’s ‘action’ which basically does not address the root causes of issues. In fact, the PAP has continued to pull wool over citizens’ eyes with the help of our mainstream media.

Take for example the issue of privatised public healthcare costs which the government has been quietly profiting from citizens for years. Instead of lowering healthcare costs, the PAP comes up with different schemes to support high privatised costs and then offering unbelievable ‘subsidies’ with tax dollars. Indirectly, citizens are forced to pay private costs and misled into thinking we have a generous government.

The Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) was designed to prepare Singaporeans for increasing healthcare costs. The impact on elderly citizens will of course be unacceptable and the PGP serves to cushion the impact of this increase. Elderly citizens will be paying ‘affordable’ increased medical insurance premiums because younger citizens have been forced to cross subsidise the increased premiums.

In an all out effort to make the PGP look great, the PAP government even made a 3-minute clip and advertised on GV cinema screens to the annoyance of GV patrons. The PGP supports privatised public healthcare costs and the government has thrown tax dollars at propaganda hoping to sway public perception.

Citizens should also not cheer the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) scheme which allows lower- and middle-income households to receive ‘subsidies’ for medical and dental care at participating GPs and dental clinics. These subsidies ultimately come from tax dollars and the government is again effectively supporting private healthcare costs.

The involvement of private clinics confirms poor planning of public infrastructures and the increased healthcare costs to the government will ultimately be borne by taxpayers. Did citizens pay top dollars to civil servants and politicians for poor planning?

A recently announced government ‘initiative’ is expected to help free up some extra beds in acute care hospitals. This ‘initiative’ costs tax dollars and costs will be eventually passed on to patients. The real issue was really poor planning which then necessitated this ‘initiative’. Has the real issue of poor planning/no planning been resolved?

In a 2012 MOH COS speech, Minister Gan said that “By 2020, we will increase the number of acute hospital beds by more than 30%, or 1,900 beds,..” (Pt. 26). According to Singstat (pg 28), there were 11853 hospital beds in 2012. An additional 1900 hospital beds is equivalent to an increase of only 16% and not 30% as Gan claims. Anyway, it will not make any difference as the belated increase will still be insufficient.

From 2001 to 2012, the number of hospital beds unbelieveably dipped by almost 100. Were ministers and civil servants sleeping or constantly checking their bank accounts?

The planned increase of 1900 beds from 2012 to 2020 is therefore meant to address the shortage since 2001. It seems the PAP government has forgotten there will be an increase of 360,000 elderly citizens and the population would also have increased by 1.77 million from 2001 to 2020. (see table below) The government should not be hoping for a miracle with a net increase of only 1817 hospital beds. 

. 2001 2012 2020 PROJECTION 2001 TO 2020 INCREASE
ACUTE HOSPITAL BEDS 11936 11853 13753 1817
POPULATION 4130000 5312000 5900000 1770000
ELDERLY CITIZENS 230000 365000 590000 360000

The number of elderly Singaporeans will increase from 230,000 in 2001 to 590,000 in 2020.

From the above, it is obvious the PAP is planning to fail. But its failure will not affect PAP politicians and our highest-paid incompetent planners in the civil service because their taxpayer funded salaries allow them to take up private health insurance with the bill of a heart bypass operation costing only the price of a meal at a food court.

In 2003, Lee Kuan Yew paid probably hundreds of thousands of dollars to equip an SIA plane with 2 neurosurgeons, 2 intensive care nurses, ozygen and a drip. The plane was converted into an airborne hospital within 48 hours to bring Mrs Lee home after she had suffered a stroke in London. Will such leaders ever understand the issues encountered by ordinary citizens?

Our planners have never been concerned about the high cost of public healthcare because it does not affect them. Neither will they understand what it’s like to be in the special ‘C’ Ward or ‘Tent’ Ward because ALL of them will be speedily admitted to ‘A’ wards.

The first ‘Corridor’ Ward in a first world country.

Setting up tents during an emergency would be understandable but this ‘Tent’ Ward was the result of poor planning by PAP.

Image source: ST

The PAP has been using shortcuts in governance for decades. The policies implemented do not affect the elites and they never understood the issues faced by ordinary Singaporeans. The root cause of our high healthcare costs can be traced to the PAP suka suka privatising public healthcare costs, offering unbelievable ‘subsidies’ using tax dollars and then perpetually tweaking the system.

The PAP has no intention of addressing privatised public healthcare costs and has been profiting from such a system at ordinary citizens’ expense. It has been talking a lot but really resolving nothing on healthcare issues.

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