Reduce Medisave curbs: GPC

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Chua Chu Kang Community Club.

SINGAPORE - Mediasave limits should be reviewed regularly to keep them in line with higher medical costs, and the standard drug list should be expanded so that more essential drugs are covered.

These are some of the recommendations made by the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health on Aug 13 in a report on improving healthcare affordability for Singaporeans.

The report, addressed to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, aims to "highlight the current healthcare financing system in Singapore and proposes various recommendations to improve healthcare affordability for Singaporeans".

It adds that it "approaches the issue from a person-centric perspective".

The report by the committee, led by GPC chairman Lam Pin Min, followed this year's Committee of Supply debate in March, during which Mr Gan had said a review of healthcare financing that started last year will take a year more to complete.

Mr Gan had also made it clear that the Government's share of healthcare spending will increase from the current 30 per cent to 40 per cent "and even more in the future".

This is in order to share the burden of healthcare cost increases.

The report's consultation process involved various stakeholders in the healthcare sector, including medical social workers and ordinary Singaporeans.

Among the other recommendations is one on a revision of the current Eldershield payout.

This is because the current scheme, meant for severely disabled elderly Singaporeans, provides a payout that is insufficient to even cover nursing- home fees, said the report.

In a response to the media on Aug 13, Mr Gan thanked Dr Lam and the members of the GPC for the "thoughtful" report.

He said: "The GPC has indeed reflected the concerns of many Singaporeans."

Mr Gan also agreed with the key thrusts proposed by the GPC.

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