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Healthcare Stories - 1 - Singapore (1)

by Metatone Tue Jul 26th, 2011 at 03:38:46 AM EST

A story of the system of healthcare in Singapore:

Singapore is not so clean, Mr Murdoch | Chee Soon Juan | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Letchmi (not her real name), a 40-year-old Singaporean woman, stood in the dock and pleaded guilty to pilfering $743 from the cash register where she worked as a cashier at a local supermarket. She told the judge in mitigation that she stole the money to pay for her medical expenses and that she had a 10-year-old daughter to fend for. She produced medical records to back up her plea. She had returned all the money that she had stolen. Unmoved, the prosecution pushed for a deterrent sentence. The judge imposed a fine of $2,000.

This is a scenario played out repeatedly all over Singapore. The unforgiving high cost of living in the city, coupled with low wages, has led many to commit crimes out of financial desperation. It is, of course, trite to argue that just because one is poor doesn't mean that one is entitled to commit criminal acts. There are many who face economic hardship but don't resort to crime.

I came across this story today and thought it worth recording. There are many more like it and I'll try to record them over time.

The statistics in comparative health studies are imperfect and fuzzy, but as in economics, they point fairly well in a certain direction. I've learned the hard way that those on the right have little interest in interpreting the figures fairly, they prefer to cite anecdotes. One place they often cite as a haven of "private healthcare working properly" is Singapore.

The reality is that it depends very heavily on your income level.

[The linked article moves on to other realities in Singapore - well worth a read.]

I'm trying to make this a diary series by me. My time on ET has been severely squeezed - perhaps it might be termed "the new austerity."

In politics too, there is so much going on, it's hard to keep up. Thus I'm trying a little project, bringing me back to one of my first areas of study: healthcare organisation.

My aim is to collect every useful fragment I read into diaries here on ET, organised by country, because when right-wingers attack either an existing system or proposal they often cite random countries around the world. I used to have decent counter-arguments in my head from memory, but it's not my daily field of work any more, so time to make some memory aids.

Great idea, and good to see you with an ET project!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jul 26th, 2011 at 05:27:57 AM EST
'ear 'ear! fascinating article, thanks for pointing at it.

great idea for the series too.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 26th, 2011 at 04:24:23 PM EST
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