20161020 Healthcare ‘subsidy’ = propaganda

I have queried former Health Minister Gan * on the polyclinic ‘subsidy’ which he was too ‘pai seh’ to reply. I believe Gan must have been aware that the PAP had overinflated polyclinic fees to create the illusion of a generous grant.

When real subsidies have been given, citizens pay only a fraction of the actual cost of the public good/service. For example, a foreigner pays $800 to study in our secondary schools while Singaporeans pay a fee of only $5 (see table below). The grant is a whopping 99%. No need to say if this grant is a real or bluff one.

But when it comes to public healthcare, PAP first overinflates the polyclinic consultation fee to above the amount charged by a private GP in order to give patients a 72% ‘subsidy’.

Last year’s polyclinic consultation fee was $38.97. After government ‘subsidy’ of $27.97, a patient paid only $11.00. PAP gave a ‘subsidy’ of 72%.

Overinflated consultation fee by PAP

Inflated bill Polyclinic Private GP
Consultation fee $38.97 $20.00
Amount paid $11.00 $20.00
Grant amount $27.97 NA
Grant % 72% NA

Polyclinic bill before fee increase

If a private GP charges only $20 for consultation, why is a polyclinic charging almost double the amount? Since the subsidy is an expenditure item to the government, who are the beneficiaries of ‘$27.97’?

The polyclinic consultation fee has to be much lower than that of a private GP. This is common sense. Assuming this to be half the rate of a private GP, or $10, the 72% subsidy turns out to be 10% profit for the PAP.

Non-inflated polyclinic consultation fee should be $10 or less

Non-inflated bill Polyclinic Private GP
Consultation fee $10.00 $20.00
Amount paid $11.00 $20.00
Profit for govt 10% NA

Have Singaporeans have been fooled for decades?

Besides fooling citizens through propaganda, PAP has also quietly raised consultation fees by 7% after the last GE.

Higher fees create the illusion that a higher quantum of subsidy – additional $2 – has been given, ie during the previous year, patients received a $27.89 ‘subsidy’ but after fees were hiked, the ‘subsidy’ increased to $29.88 ($41.68 – $11.80).

The PAP isn’t making only $29.88 because there are more than 4.8 million polyclinic patient visits every year. Who are the beneficiaries of tens of millions of tax dollars? What about even more obscene profits made by public hospitals?

Our healthcare subsidy is mostly propaganda and at times turn out to be profits for the government. Transparency is needed but our elected MPs, PAP and WP, are clearly not speaking up.

* (correction) Health Minister since 2011

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5 Responses to 20161020 Healthcare ‘subsidy’ = propaganda

  1. meh nwh says:

    Who are the beneficiaries? PAP cronies, like colon Dr KPK or Dr LWK who own private practices while moonlighting as MP.

  2. Xmen says:

    At $11.80 per polyclinic visit, you are better off paying $20 to see a private GP. You will get better care and have the same doctor long term. This is simple Econ 101. If a private GP is incompetent, his practice will not be around for long. Not so for government doctors.

  3. David says:

    Only 70% percent chosed to be fooled. Not ALL Singaporeans.

  4. Nurse says:

    Salaries of doctors have increased a lot over the last few years, even for part-time polyclinic doctors. For local doctors on locum with polyclinics, they’re paid $100/hr — that means even if just work 5 hours a day from Mon-Fri, their monthly pay is more than $10,000. For Sat duty, their pay is higher at $150/hr. For foreigner doctors, their pay is slightly less, but still substantial. All these doctor salaries need to come from somewhere. That somewhere is you Sinkie suckers.

  5. YEO JOSEPH says:

    A PG ENJOYS SENIOR SUBSIDIES + AN ADDITIONAL 50% REBATE FOR STANDARD DRUGS. EG. 10 TABLETS OF DOMPERIDONE WILL COST A PG S$1.20 AT THE POLYCLINIC. SAME CAN BE PURCHASE FOR RM3.00 (S$1.00) IN JOHOR. SO, WHAT PG SUBSIDIES IS THE G TALKING ABOUT?

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