Singaporeans may realise that the biggest joke currently in vogue in town is the MediShield Life. Since its introduction with the massive efforts by PAP minister, including the inimitable PM Lee Hsien Loong, to explain the so-called panacea to help especially finance-strapped Singaporeans, particularly the impecunious elderly, to defray their huge medical bills, the cynical joke is that very few people, especially the elderly, understand the intricacies of the over-hyped scheme. They could only apprehend with certain amount of incredibility what government leaders have told them of the benefits they they would get out of MediShield Life but how they would benefit, whether financially or medically, is all Greek to them.
The smart Alec minister or ministers who so ingeniously compiled the MediShield Life scheme should be congratulated for his ingenuity in devising such an intricate scheme that has almost every rational Singaporean, young and old, baffled. It will be some kind of miracle if government leaders could ultimately unravel this so-called humanitarian puzzle to the benefit of Singaporeans, especially the elderly.
One wonders where the problem lies. Is it because government leaders have not found the knack of explaining the scheme in a language the would-be beneficiaries would find it easy to understand? Or is it because the would-be beneficiaries are so obtuse that no amount of explanation, however simple, would be comprehensible to them? Anyway, this seems to be a million-dollar question which behooves the PAP leadership to find a quick solution.
One classic example of the inexplicability of the current MediShield scheme is in the case of a well-known Chinese community leader who had a cataract operation of both eyes at the National University Hospital a few years back. He had been paying premiums for his MediShield and was therefore presumed to be covered for his cataract operation at the NUH. To his horror he was told by the NUH staff that he had to make full payment of more than $4,000 for his operation and that he could not use his MediShield account for part or full payment. He could not help but feel that he had been shortchanged by the authorities. His was not the only case as there was another elderly Chinese who had reported to the Lianhe Zaobao recently that he had a similar experience.
The Pioneer Generation Package, like the MediShield Life, is another PAP grandiose scheme designed to win over the electorate in the next general election in 2016. The MediShield Life Review Committee’s report may or may not make any significant clarification to the intricacies of MediShield Life.
Yoong Siew Wah
* Mr Yoong Siew Wah was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. Before his stint with ISD, he was the director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).