Citizens' healthcare a joint responsibility

Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi's view ("Citizens' healthcare must remain the state's responsibility"; last Sunday) is too one-sided.

Citizens' healthcare must be the joint responsibility of individuals and the state because the latter does not have unlimited resources.

Also, the state has no control over an individual's life choices, such as smoking, drinking and eating unwisely.

We have seen how Western countries have been unable to provide adequate healthcare after adopting the philosophy that citizens' healthcare is the responsibility of the state.

While encouraging patients to go abroad in search of discounted healthcare is not right, it is also not wrong to let people know that cheaper healthcare is available abroad, especially if that is nearby.

After all, this is an effective way to provide some competition, to prevent Singapore's healthcare costs from spiralling out of control.

How can our Government be accused of "a serious dereliction of this duty" when all Singaporeans are covered by MediShield Life?

It is also debatable that getting Singaporeans to seek healthcare abroad would foist our healthcare woes on nearby countries, because no one is expecting the governments or taxpayers of nearby countries to subsidise those costs.

On the contrary, their healthcare providers may even be making a profit.

Tan Peng Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'Citizens' healthcare a joint responsibility'. Print Edition | Subscribe