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Chap 3 Measures Introduced by the Government to Keep Healthcare Affordable

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  Explain measures/policies introduced by the government to keep healthcare affordable.   Medisave was introduced in 1984 to encourage Singaporeans to be responsible for their own health. A certain amount of money (6-8%) from an individual’s CPF is channeled into his Medisave account. This money can be used to pay hospital bills and certain medical treatments when needed. Thus, Medisave helps to manage the rising costs of healthcare in Singapre because singaporeans are better able to pay for medical treatments which are expensive. This has also benefited singaporeans as major treatments such as chemotherapy have also been included. As a result, Medisave assists government’s burden of paying for healthcare services and encourages singaporeans to be responsible for their own health. Medishield is a national healthcare insurance scheme introduced to help singaporeans who require long-term treatment of more serious illnesses. Patients are able to make claims from MediShield to pay for large medical bills which Medisave does not cover such as long-term dialysis and long-term severe disabilities. Thus, MediShield helps to manage the rising costs of healthcare in Singapore because singaporeans are better able to pay for their medical expenses and also meets the specific medical needs of some singaporeans. As a result, Medishield encourages singaporeans to be responsible for their own health and assisting the Singapore Government’s burden of paying for healthcare services.   Medifund is a fund of $200 million started in 1993 by the government to provide help to those who are not able to pay for healthcare. The interest earned from this fund is given to public hospitals to provide help for needy patients. Medifund ensures needy Singaporeans who despite, Medisave, Medishield and government subsidies still cannot afford to pay their medical expenses. As a result, this ensures that no Singaporeans will be denied of any medical service. It makes healthcare affordable to the needy since the fund pays for the medical costs.    Government subsidies are direct subsidies given by the government to hospitals, polyclinics and nursing homes to help keep healthcare cost affordable for all Singaporeans. Providing subsidies means the government gives a certain amount of money based on factors such as the types as wards in the hospital. For example, Class C wards in hospitals are heavily subsidised. As a result, Singaporeans in the lower-income group are still able to afford hospital treatment because they do not have to pay as much as people in other wards. Restructuring hospitals   ensures that hospitals can keep healthcare cost low as the hospitals have the freedom to reorganise themselves in the way they run the hospitals to meet the needs of Singaporeans. With greater efficiency due to restructuring, Singaporeans would have better healthcare services such as faster   treatment and appropriate spcialist care if required.  As a result, less resources and time are wasted which would make healthcare more affordable for the country on the whole.

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