Forum: Don't require means testing to downgrade to subsidised care

 Posed photo of a person with a stethoscope.
Posed photo of a person with a stethoscope.PHOTO: ST FILE

I fail to understand why private patients in public hospitals who wish to downgrade to subsidised care need any form of means testing (More clarity needed on polyclinic referrals and accessing subsidised care, Jan 16).

Isn't it the right of a Singaporean to choose the type of hospital care he deems fit for himself, irrespective of whether he has been a private patient before or is better off?

To subject someone to means testing just because he wants to downgrade from private-patient status is nothing short of discrimination.

To look at it from another perspective, if I am relatively well off, but chose subsidised care from the beginning - which entitled me to similar subsidies later on - does it not make means testing an exercise in futility?

Senior health correspondent Salma Khalik also pointed out a glaringly obvious point that those who choose to go to a polyclinic to obtain a referral obviously opted for subsidised care.

I don't understand how our public hospitals can fail to notice this.

Whether it is choosing doctors or hospital care, I think our public hospitals have a duty to advise patients clearly on such matters, and refrain from nudging them to opt for more expensive treatment or care.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2020, with the headline 'Don't require means testing to downgrade to subsidised care'. Print Edition | Subscribe