Singapore’s healthcare system has been held up as an example for other governments to follow. But residents are growing old, and tired of ever-increasing costs.

SINGAPORE (Mar 18): It was turning into a long-drawn-out ordeal. For six weeks, Angeline Yong’s septuagenarian father had complained of pain in his stomach, but doctors at the GP clinics simply sent him home with instructions to “eat more regularly”. The housewife decided to bring him to Singapore General Hospital, where he was kept under observation. After nine hours, she was told he needed to be admitted. The two waited another two hours for a subsidised bed before Yong had enough and left. She took her father to Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, where he was admitted just 30 minutes later with $400 out-of-pocket cost — thanks to the family’s private insurance.

“The cost is very different, but no point talking about money after he dies,” Yong says. She estimates that the difference between the fees charged by the private hospital and those for subsidised care in the restructured hospital would have been about $15,000, not taking into account insurance.

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