31 July 2015

MediShield — Membership Has Disadvantages

When MediShield Life is introduced later this year, it will provide all citizens and permanent residents with hospitalisation insurance, including people with pre-existing conditions.

Existing MediShield Members

When MediShield was introduced in 1990, many people decided not to opt out even though their employers provided them with hospitalisation insurance that was more comprehensive than that under MediShield.

In other words, they had overlapping hospitalisation insurance coverage.

Since they can make a claim for hospitalisation expense against one policy only, they typically claimed against the hospitalisation insurance provided by their employers, rather than MediShield.

Were they silly, throwing away their hard earned money by paying MediShield premiums but not making claims against MediShield?

27 July 2015

Redrawing Electoral Boundaries: The Singapore Experience

The Report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee 2015 was released to the public last Friday. The Committee comprised five public servants.


The first thing that struck me when I read the report was its opacity.

Two weeks ago, NCMP Yee Jenn Jong asked in Parliament[1]:

[T]he completeness of the EBRC report seems to have been shrinking from the 1960s and the early 1970s. So, will the Prime Minister direct the Committee to provide better justifications for the changes because many of these changes do not seem to make sense to political observers and to the residents? Can the minutes of meetings of the EBRC be published so that they will be open for all to understand the decisions that have been made?

20 July 2015

Perils Of Trans Pacific Partnership (And Other FTAs)

Why Free Trade
The total output of a group of countries is greatest when the output of each good is produced by the country that has the lowest opportunity cost (i.e., comparative advantage). Conversely, if a good is produced by a country that can be produced by another country at a lower opportunity cost, the first country is giving up more than necessary.

Even if any one country can produce more of every good with the same resources than the other countries (i.e., absolute advantage), all countries can still gain from reallocation of resources, specialisation and trade provided the relative cost of producing the goods differs among the countries.

Specialisation and freer trade are supposed to lead to lower prices and higher consumption.

So why has the World Trade Organisation not been able to conclude negotiations on the Doha Development Round after more than a decade? Nor 12 Asia-Pacific countries[1] on the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP")?

13 July 2015

LKY Reads Proclamation Of Independence

This coming National Day morning, Singapore residents will hear the voice of their country's first prime minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, reading the Proclamation of Independence, according to the People's Association ("PA")[1].

The recording will be played on all local TV and radio channels and heard at National Day observance ceremonies organised by PA's grassroots organisations.

PA Chief Executive Director Ang Hak Seng said, "The reading of this Proclamation by our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew will remind us of the core values that our pioneers embodied, such as community resilience, racial harmony, determination to overcome the odds and placing community above."