S’pore health care system praised in Fox News piece for being best & spending least

How humbling.

By Belmont Lay | December 1, 2016

The United States health care system is broken — which has been for the longest time.

And at least one economist there has turned to Singapore and given us the thumbs up for dealing with what has become an intractable problem for America, especially so in the wake of their election with the Republican party taking over the reins once again.

In a Nov. 29 opinion piece on Fox News, “Want to ditch ObamaCare? Let’s copy Singapore’s health care miracle“, by Sean M. Flynn, an associate professor of economics at Scripps College in Claremont, California, the proposal to overturn one aspect of Obama’s legacy starts with looking towards adopting Singapore’s efficient and effective system.

But more gratifyingly, Flynn said that Singapore “has used forgotten American ideas to build the world’s greatest healthcare system”.

The Singapore way

The main gist of his advice is that the Singapore way is to empower individuals to choose and by forcing health care providers to compete, which stands the current dynamics operating in the American health care system on its head.

Flynn cites Singapore’s ability to provide true universal access, as well as coverage for preexisting conditions, where access to the same doctors and facilities is a given, as a key fundamental.

And this is only possible “by ensuring plentiful contributions into health savings accounts and by providing a high-deductible health insurance plan that people can actually afford not only the premiums, but the deductibles and copays, too.”

Moreover, the Singapore way has already been adapted by some sectors in the US and has shown to have worked well.

For example, Whole Foods Markets in the US adopted what has been dubbed as “a wildly popular Singapore-style health care plan that was approved by its unions”.

The State of Indiana, too, proved that “Singapore-style health insurance works for both middle-class government employees as well as indigent Medicaid recipients”.

But most damning of all about the current American system is that the cost burden is so much higher but they are still unable to deliver the best results.

According to the piece, Singapore is said to be delivering the world’s very best health outcomes for just 4.7 percent of GDP and coming out tops as the healthiest country based on 21 different health care metrics.

On the other hand, the US ranks 41st in life expectancy, 55th in infant mortality, and 49th in maternal mortality while spending nearly 18 percent of GDP on health care.

By pushing health care spending to Singapore’s level, Flynn suggests the US would have annual savings of about 12.2 percent of GDP, or about US$2.1 trillion per year.

You can read the entire piece here.


Top photo via Wikimedia

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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