Against Means Testing
Although the government rhetoric says otherwise, means testing is arguably the pretext for the government going even further away from the responsibility of taking care of as many of its people as possible. If that is the case, what good is the government and its highly paid ministers for?
A tax-paying citizen already is taxed progressively based on his income i.e. he responsibly pays his dues to society and state. And then when he decides to resort to public healthcare at a subsidised rate, he is means-tested, a double-taxation so to speak, an insult added to injury. Incidentally, since his bill is higher because he qualifies for less subsidy, the GST charged is also higher. The government is trying to be all assuring smiles about means-testing in B1, B2 and C class wards, saying that it would still be “affordable” and healthcare is heavily subsidised. But we have to be critical and wary on two factors.
Remember that HDB flats are also heavily “subsidised” according to market rates. Is hospital care subsidy also a subsidised according to supposed market rates? If that is the “subsidy” the government is talking about they can surely do more and by decreasing any “subsidy” and introducing means testing, it means that the government wants to charge more and more people closer and closer to market prices for public healthcare. Public healthcare. The meaning of the adjective became lost along the way.
Furthermore, the government is assuring that the percentage points drop in any B or C class ward subsidy is small e.g. if a person fails a means test and the subsidy awarded to him is now merely 70% and not 80% in a C class ward and the patient still gets a hefty “subsidy”. Do not be fooled by the siren’s call as this level of subsidy might change and will change. It would be 70% now, 60% within perhaps 2 years after the public has gotten used to the means testing rhetoric, and hypothetically plummets to 30% after the PAP figures that they have the mandate to do what they please after they win the next General Election e.g. ministers’ salary.
We had a choice. We will have a choice again soon.