Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Docs Outraged....

...and well they should. My initial reaction was also that of outrage. An insurance company wants US to squeal on our patients???

I'll be the first to admit that among my patients in one of my past jobs included those sent by insurance companies for checkups before they buy insurance. These were patients who KNEW why they were going for the checkups & signed declaration forms saying that they were basically telling the truth & allowing the examining physician to reveal whatever medical condition they had to the insurance company. This is very different from the case mentioned in the above article, where the insurance company in question wants physicians to tell on patients who are already insured, hoping to catch them in a lie. This goes against the very grain of doctor-patient confidentiality. And all in the name of profits (for the insurance companies & their shareholders).

The issue of health care costs & the uninsured is one that is & has been in the news, whether in the US or Singapore.

FACT: EVERYONE will need health care sooner or later.
FACT: Health care IS expensive
FACT: Not everyone can afford the best quality care
FACT: There are grey zones as far as what is considered "best" quality care is concerned, & we can argue till the cows come home over what constitutes good, better or best care.

Bottom line is: how do we address these problems? The Singapore government is promoting means testing, which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense. If you can afford it, why not pay for it? The problem then arises with how one gauges whether one can afford it or not.

I am no economist; but I can understand the concerns of the middle class who may fall into the cracks of means testing because they make just a bit too much income to pass whatever test they need to pass to get 'x' amount of subsidy. I'd like to see the means by which MOH will do the means testing (pardon the pun).

I don't think health insurance is a bad thing. But when the $$$ sign becomes more important than patient care, the alarm bells start to go off.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

in an ideal world only rich people fall ill and pay for medical services.

Poor people remain healthy till the day they suddenly drop dead and die having no need for any medical care.