Singapore's Health Care System by Chien Earn Lee download in pdf, ePub, iPad
The government subsidises the cost of primary health care in polyclinics. Risks are not pooled, so an individual may be exposed to catastrophic expenses.
All of these issues are laid out for all to see. The gap can be paid from a Medisave account. Messenger Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. Hospital care is broken up into classes and levels from class C wards lowest to A highest.
Whether or not you agree with their approach, the rules of the game are clear. If you are unlucky enough to need hospital care that results in a very large bill, there is a reinsurance pool known as Medishield that provides basic health care in subsidised wards.
The accounts are held by the government and earn a minimum risk-free return. There is also a basic care safety net for all Singaporeans known as Medifund. In contrast, Australia has no health care manifesto that clearly states what we want from our health system.
Sure, we have Medicare, a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and a well established mixed system of public and private health-care financing and delivery. We should never allow Medicare to get to that point.
If you are tempted to fly hospital business class on a beer budget and you run out of money to settle the bill, the Medisave accounts of your immediate family members can be used. But Australia has not crossed that threshold. We do, however, need a strong sense of what we expect from Medicare, what it can deliver and how.