GPC makes recommendations for affordable healthcare

Patients in a ward at Ren Ci Community Hospital at Irrawaddy Road. The Government Parliamentary Committee for Health wants Medisave be used to cover more services, including health screening, and increase the share of bills that MediShield can cover
Patients in a ward at Ren Ci Community Hospital at Irrawaddy Road. The Government Parliamentary Committee for Health wants Medisave be used to cover more services, including health screening, and increase the share of bills that MediShield can cover in order to keep healthcare affordable for most people. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Let Medisave be used to cover more services, including health screening, and increase the share of bills that MediShield can cover in order to keep healthcare affordable for most people, urged the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health.

In a rare move, the GPC on Tuesday submitted a report to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong outlining a slew of changes they would like to see in healthcare financing. Led by the GPC head Dr Lam Pin Min, the team of MPs spent months gathering feedback from the ground and from healthcare professionals and social workers.

Their suggestions include: removing restrictions on Medisave that "over encourages" the use of hospital services and allowing it to be used for health screening, essential dental procedures, physio and occupational therapies; regularly reviewing caps on Medisave use and tier the limits with older members allowed to use more; and cap the Medisave use for family members so it will not be prematurely depleted when the person needs it.

Their recommendations also included having younger people to pay more premiums for MediShield insurance which can be used to offset the higher premiums when they age; indicating that Government top-ups for MediShield should be used only to pay premiums; and have the Government subsidise more drugs.