We refer to the letter "Address needs of sandwich class" from Mr David Soh (The New Paper, Aug 17). We would like to thank Mr Soh for sharing his feedback on how we could better address the issue of healthcare affordability.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) regularly reviews and updates our healthcare policies to ensure their relevance and sustainability.
Health care is a shared responsibility between the Government and the individual.
In formulating our subsidy policies, we adopt a targeted approach to ensure that help is given to Singaporeans with greater needs, while taking care to ensure basic healthcare remains generally affordable and avoid excessive consumption.
Such a philosophy ensures the long-term financial sustainability of our healthcare system. In this regard, MOH's recent initiatives seek to make health care more affordable for more Singaporeans.
By raising the Primary Care Partnership Scheme income ceiling from $800 to $1,500 per capita monthly household income and by lowering the age criterion from 65 to 40, more Singaporeans can now benefit from the scheme.
This is a very significant expansion of the scheme's coverage.
In ensuring that the additional subsidies reach those who need them, we have adopted the per capita monthly household income assessment model.
This is a fair gauge of a family's economic means as it takes into account the number of dependants (children, retired elderly and so on) that income earners have to support in each family.
Nevertheless, MOH will exercise some flexibility when assessing applications from those who may fall just outside the qualifying income bracket but whose unique circumstances may warrant some level of assistance.
In addition to extending the Primary Care Partnership Scheme, we will also be increasing our subsidies to selected high-cost drugs and expand the use of Medisave for outpatient treatments.
This article was first published in The New Paper.