20141207 Public healthcare ‘grant/subsidy’ misleading, PAP’s subtle propaganda

I refer to TRS’s “NHG polyclinic’s “subsidised” medical check-up cost more than my private GP” by ‘Angry Patient’.

It appears Singaporeans have not realised “subsidy” and “grant” do not exist in Singapore; these are subtle PAP propaganda.

In other countries, there is no breakdown (subsidy/grant) to reflect the ‘assistance’ given by the government. It is already understood that the cost of public healthcare is a fraction of the cost in the private sector.

The PAP misleads public healthcare patients by first arbitrarily inflating healthcare cost to ridiculous levels and then offer a huge subsidy/grant. The oversized grants/subsidies give one the impression that citizens are more than well taken care of by the PAP.

Singaporeans should be able to confirm this by looking at polyclinic/hospital bills which will show an incredible 100% (sometimes more) marked up cost before a ‘grant’ is given. Something is not quite right here.

In an earlier article published on TRS, I highlighted some concerns in my son’s polyclinic bill. My concerns and queries were also raised in an email to Health Minister Gan in August. I have yet to receive a reply.

The PAP government appears to have been systemically shortchanging public healthcare patients by:

1. Inflating the cost of consultation at a polyclinic to almost double the rate of a private GP.

2. Inflating the cost of medication such as Paracetamol to more than double that of retail price before offering a ‘grant’. That the online price of Paracetamol is still cheaper after a grant is given confirms the PAP government has profited from patients.

When the PAP gives a $32.87 ($38.87 – $6.10) grant for consultation, who is the recipient? Which company did MOH purchase its Paracetamol from? Why does it cost MOHH $5.29 for a pack of 20’s when the retail price is only $2.50, say, at Guardian pharmacy?

These are all pertinent questions which the PAP government should not sidestep. Why did the PAP implement healthcare policies to profit from public healthcare patients?

There is a marked difference in the level of service, convenience and medication between consulting a private GP and one in a polyclinic. The subsidy in public healthcare does not exist because the lower cost actually reflects the fundamental differences.

A & E charges have also been inflated by more than 200 % before a government grant is given. Most who require medical attention at the A & E department eventually pay a flat rate of $107, with the PAP still profiting from 7% GST.

For hospital admissions, patients are given thousands of dollars in grants. But with Singaporeans already paying the highest out of pocket healthcare expenses, we are not the real beneficiaries of government grants.

Image source: The Heart Truths

So how much in grants were given annually?

Last year, there were 373,022 public hospital admissions, 1,006,800 public hospital A & E attendances, 4,623,600 polyclinic attendances and 944,000 public sector dental clinic attendances. From these figures, it is obvious the PAP dishes out hundreds of millions of tax dollars in grants.

Government grant + payment from patient = cost of private healthcare

The PAP is therefore solely responsible for inflating public healthcare costs. This includes higher medical insurance premiums.

The “full amount” in, say, a polyclinic bill is actually an arbitrary figure reflecting private healthcare cost, sometimes more. But government clinics and hospitals do not pay rental, have much lower operating/staff costs, etc. The PAP should not have used the “full amount” because there are no such costs to begin with. The subsidy/grant is therefore not a real subsidy/grant.

In short, the PAP government is responsible for inflating the cost of public healthcare with its overly-generous subsidies/grants. Since subsidies/grants are funded by taxpayers, it is therefore an indirect tax** to citizens. The PAP has designed the public healthcare system to mask this indirect tax to gain political mileage at the expense of ordinary citizens.

The PAP should acknowledge the issue of unaffordable public healthcare and find a permanent solution instead of engaging in subtle propaganda.


Besides providing generous healthcare ‘subsidies/grants’, PAP also has its ‘remember-to-vote-for-me’ CPF housing grants, GST offset, PGP, etc.

Error ** Although there is a huge element of tax dollars used as grants/subsidies, it should not be considered as indirect tax because there was no collection for such a purpose, unlike COE, levy, etc  It would be more appropriate to state that privatised public healthcare costs are masked by government grants. 😦

Government grant + payment from patient = cost of private healthcare

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5 Responses to 20141207 Public healthcare ‘grant/subsidy’ misleading, PAP’s subtle propaganda

  1. Confused says:

    The medical bill is from either the hospital or polyclinic to the patients. If these bills are being inflated higher than the private clinic, with the introduction of grants, the fat and meat stay with the hospital or polyclinic. Whose is running them? REMEMBER MOHH? Does it mean that someone is making money from the taxpayer through the introduction of grants?

    • phillip ang says:

      Minister Gan has refused to reply to my queries. The whole set up is without transparency. Why is the government not accountable for spending our tax dollars? Why isn’t opposition MP asking any question on how MOHH operates?

  2. Confused says:

    Also, how is grant to Town Councils being disbursed? If it’s determined by the types of flat units, why should it be reduced and not increased (it’s likely that flats will increase due to higher population over years) if not for the change in composition of flats or quantum of each subsidy?

  3. abpap says:

    that is how the pap govt “works”. Like HDB flats – govt provides HDB seed money to build flats and yet HDB has to pay the govt interest of $1+b according to HDB financial stmts. Then the pap govt gives HDB grants to the tune of $1+b. Left pocket, right pocket. The pap govt to be so “generous”. There is no fraud – just that the msm will publicize half of the tale to make the govt look good. I won’t be surprised if govt hospitals and the universities pay the govt annual land rentals and then receive grants from the govt. This is called pap style of “heavily subsidized” and yet the pap govt is able to accumulate huge surpluses

  4. phillip ang says:

    PAP is extremely scheming and refuses to disclose data which should have been made publicly available. Fortunately, they had not anticipated the arrival of the internet and did not conceal every bit of information. All of us should do our part to unmask the deception, if not for ourselves, for the sake of our children and future generations.

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