Clues for the Clueless – Chapter 8
Chapter 8 – Other people’s money
You would imagine that healthcare is a simple relationship between two parties – the patient and the doctor.
This is still the case if you see a general practitioner or a private specialist: you agree on a care plan that is mutually satisfactory, at a price that is acceptable to both parties.
A simple transaction. You pay, you get.
But when it comes to seeing a doctor at a government polyclinic or a specialist at a subsidised clinic or in a subsidised ward, you actually take more than you give.
Subsidy means you don’t pay the full cost, which in turn means someone else, in this case the taxpayers, pay.
That means with every visit or admission, the institution makes a loss.
Other people are paying for you.
Yes, I know you pay taxes too, but if the amount you pay exceeds the cost of your triple bypass, you wouldn’t be staying in a subsidised ward now, would you?
So to demand the most expensive drugs or short waiting time or more personalised care at a subsidised clinic or ward is like going to a soup kitchen and demanding a steak and a table for two with candles and a violinist.
Subsidy is the same reason why the government spends money on health promotion; if you are willing to pay your own medical bills in full no one would care if you ate unhealthy food, smoked, or didn’t exercise. Your body, your money, your choice.
Problem is many people mess their own bodies up and expect the rest of us to pick up the tab, and unfortunately that’s a state of affairs we have to tolerate until someone with enough moral courage puts a stop to it.
Until then, the next time you step into a subsidised clinic or ward, try to remember that you are a recipient of tax dollars, and not 'a paying customer'.