Subsidy and other Preoccupations 8
Sometimes angry doc has difficulty deciding whether letter-writers to the ST Forum are cleverly subtle, or just clueless.
Worry and questions about means testing
I REFER to the article, 'Means testing in hospitals within a year' (ST, April 8).
The problem that means testing is trying to resolve is the 'abuse of subsidised health care'. I disagree with this approach.
By applying for C-class wards, a patient is sacrificing level of service, comfort and reduced waiting time. Hence middle-class citizens who can afford better wards must be applying for C-class wards for pure cost savings.
This should be a personal choice. Why can't middle-class citizens elect to get subsidised health care?
Imagine securing a C-class ward, and, after enduring the long queues and a more crowded environment, having to pay B-class prices after five days.
Furthermore, the definition of what a person can afford may vary. Do we use taxable income? Or disposable income? What about the number of dependants? There are many complexities in this financial decision, and devoting the Health Ministry's resources to perform credit assessments on everyone may generate a substantial cost in itself.
If the patient load in C-class wards is getting heavier, wouldn't it be more efficient if more B-class wards are converted to C-class wards?
With the reduced number of B-class wards, their prices can be subject to market forces. Citizens can hence freely elect to pay B- or A-class prices to enjoy better service. I believe this would be a better way of reducing patient load.
The same argument against middle-class citizens enjoying health-care subsidies can be applied to education subsidies. Do we really want to move in that direction?
What do you think?