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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Jan 19, 2008
There are difficulties in making MediShield compulsory for all: Khaw
By Jaime Ee

Mr Khaw Boon Wan said there will always be a small group who will refuse to be insured because they do not think they need it. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

HEALTH Minister Khaw Boon Wan said there are practical difficulties in making the national health insurance scheme MediShield compulsory for all.
There will always be a small group who will refuse to be insured because they think they don't need it, he said.

As it is, he said the opt-out scheme has been 'quite effective'. Among working adults, more than 90 per cent are already insured.

'For a national system, once you have more than 90 per cent, we are home.'

Mr Khaw was responding to Madam Halimah Yacob's suggestion to cover people beyond the age of 85 and to make the MediShield scheme compulsory, as means testing could hurt those uninsured even harder due to higher out-of-pocket payments.

Changing the level of subsidy for the middle income group is not something that should be done in isolation, Madam Halimah, the head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health, said in her keynote speech at the 2nd International Conference of the Asia-Pacific Society for Healthcare Quality on Thursday.

Mr Khaw, in illustrating the difficulties of implementing a compulsory scheme, cited examples from Korea, Japan and Taiwan, which has mandatory national health insurance

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