To the Editor:
John McClaughry’s “Let’s reopen the health care debate” proposes Singapore’s health care system as a model although it is “not a wholly free-market solution.” That is an astoundingly misleading statement. In fact, Singapore represents the kind of government control of health care that Mr. McClaughry usually rails against.
A detailed description of Singapore’s system is readily available at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/countries/singapore. Please read it. That description includes: “The government relies on competition and market forces to improve service and raise efficiency but intervenes directly when the market fails to keep health care costs down. For example, the Ministry of Health performs workforce planning to determine the number of health care professionals required, coordinates the training capacity, and dictates land availability for hospital and other health care facility development.”
Not only does Singapore’s national government employ numerous oversight bodies to control such details as how many students can be admitted to medical school, it provides a myriad of subsidies that resulted in the government directly funding 41 percent of all health care costs as of 2016. The government regularly assesses how well the system is performing and adjusts its controls accordingly. If you view Singapore as a good model, you have to admit that the “free market” is not the answer to our country’s health care nightmare.
Bennington, Aug. 29