Singapore ©2013 Am Ang Zhang
The Cockroach Catcher recently visited Singapore and is most impressed with how a city state emerged from British Colonial rule to become a shining example to the rest of the world both in terms of Employment, Education, Rule of Law and most importantly Health Care.
Until now, most health care in England has been “free” at the point of delivery. This indeed may be where the trouble really is.
When I was growing up in Hong Kong, education was not free nor was it compulsory. Yet most of us valued it. Every single bit of book, pencil and paper were paid for by hard working parents. There was no abuse of any of those items. Primary education became compulsory (and free) from 1979, yes, late.
Well, one thing I have to admit about British Colonialist is that they generally leave a good government behind. How that is achieved is a mystery to many but in general a stable government with a single policy for 150 years or so may well be one of them. In recent years, the Civil Service in Hong Kong and Singapore had been very efficient and whatever corruption there may have been had been contained or controlled.
Old Singapore Today©2013 Am Ang Zhang
Citizens of England might be surprised to hear that for most of us, health care is not free.
No, not for those of us who pay national insurance and taxes and if we include VAT, that is just about everybody.
Singapore: NO! NOT FREE!
Singapore’s health delivery is not free at any point. This has the singular advantage of preventing the over-utilisation of any of its healthcare services. As England struggled to stem the flow of new EU citizens from coming to use (or abuse) our NHS, Singapore’s system simply see to it that it would not happen. Yet there is a safeguard in public health for what is known as a catastrophic situation which happened during the SARS outbreak.
Singaporeans are considerably healthier than Americans, yet pay, per person, about one-fifth of what Americans pay for their healthcare.
So how does Singapore achieve such impressive results?
The key to Singapore’s efficient health care system is the emphasis on the individual to assume responsibility towards their own health and, importantly, their own health expenditure.
The state recovers 20-100 percent of its public healthcare outlay through user fees. A patient in a government hospital who chooses the open ward is subsidized by the government at 80 percent. Better-off patients choose more comfortable wards with lower or no government subsidy, in a self-administered means test.
I've heard a lot of smart people warn that co-payments are penny-wise but pound-foolish, because people cut back on high-benefit preventive care. Unless someone is willing to dispute Singapore's budgetary and health data, it looks like we've got strong counter-evidence to this view: Either Singaporeans don't skimp on preventive care when you raise the price, or preventive care isn't all it's cracked up to be.
More details on how Singapore's system works:
So in Singapore private clinics are responsible for 80% of primary care but public hospitals cover 80% of hospital care!