Friday, August 24, 2012

Sussing out the Susan Lim saga...

Gigamole is deadset against Dr Susan Lim's grotesque charges for her services... especially as Gigamole has to seriously contemplate a car-less future, in view of the even more grotesque COE values.

Even so, Gigamole has to confess to not even coming close to understanding the charges brought against her.

Singapore has no accepted fee structure for medical consultations. A previous non-binding guidelines published by the Singapore Medical Association was unilaterally and mysteriously scrapped in 2007. Apparently this was to make SMA compliant with the Singapore Competition Act of 2004.  Methinks however, it was in response to pressure to free up the fee structure to market forces so that the competition will drive down health care costs. What the policy makers didn't reckon with however, was that this would work only if it is a perfectly free market. But it never was a buyer's market, and fees were not significantly driven down. Instead, the deregulation allowed the high flyers such as Dr Susan Lim to escalate their costs. She is not the only medical consultant in private practice to exploit the deregulation, just the most obvious and noteworthy one. It might never have surfaced if not for the fact that some rich royalty called the Ministry of Health.

One might argue that the 'over-charging' occurred prior to the deregulation in 2007. But for the 20 years before 2007, even with the guidelines in place, there was never anything binding to the extent that anyone could be penalized for over-charging. Therefore, Gigamole is totally mystified as to how the Singapore Medical Council can determine that Dr Susan Lim over-charged anyone.

The Singapore Medical Council owes us an explanation here.

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