Chan Heng Chee
Ambassador-at--Large Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador-at-Large & Former Perm. Rep to the UN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Lim Siong Guan
Former Group President GIC
Professor of Economics & Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara*
CEO Temasek International
*only confirmed to attend inaugural meeting
Field of Excellence
Health Care System
At only 54 years, Singapore is the most impressive national success story of modern history. When Singapore declared its independence in 1965, GDP per capita was as low as $500. Today, it surpasses $53,000. Additionally, Singapore has one of the most cost-efficient healthcare systems in the world.
They achieved this by focusing on the patient, ousting the doctors and reducing the power of the insurance companies. The primary strength of the Singaporean system is its ability to prevent healthcare providers from enticing politicians to maximize their interests, meaning that lobbying is frowned upon.
Another reason for Singapore’s success is the high amount of competent people that have integrity and dedicate themselves to be good civil servants, which provides ballast and continuity to the system.
Also, like many other S8 countries, it follows a pro-business politics. The last piece that adds to Singapore’s success story is pragmatism.
Because of its new and young population, Singapore modernized itself by learning from more established countries and adapting their best practices, amongst other things their healthcare systems. Precisely due to its young population, Singapore was able to build up their healthcare system while there was no geriatric burden.
Singapore’s healthcare system consists of three pillars:
The first pillar is for rare, costly incidents and is compulsory and universal. It is covered by a low-cost insurance policy and serves the purpose to provide coverage against catastrophic sickness or accidents which trigger large, unexpected bills.
The second pillar, called the Medisave scheme, allows deductible for every healthcare treatment and includes co-payment on every dollar. There is also a fifty-cent charge on prescription drugs, which ensures that people appreciate the medicine. The second pillar also ensures that the Singaporeans set aside a portion of their salaries via salary taxes for their own medical needs and those for their families. The contribution is divided to fund long-term needs for both retirement care and healthcare.
The third pillar is the Medifund, the so-called safety net of the healthcare system. It is an endowment fund set up by the government and is designed as a last resort for people that cannot afford to pay their medical bills. This, however, is not universal and depends on the patient’s income.
Singapore learned from experience over the years and developed one of the best market-based healthcare systems with the best of single-payer models.