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Free Medical Care For Covid Patients

Free Medical Care For Covid Patients

Eighty-five percent of people in Singapore eligible for coronavirus vaccines are fully vaccinated, and 18 percent have received booster shots.

But the Singaporean government said Monday that it will no longer cover the medical costs of people “unvaccinated by choice,” who make up the bulk of remaining new coronavirus cases and covid-19 hospitalizations in the city-state.

“Currently, unvaccinated persons make up a sizable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care, and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our health care resources,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement Monday.

“Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice may still tap on regular health care financing arrangements to pay for their bills where applicable,” the ministry added.

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The government now foots the bill for any Singaporean citizen, permanent resident and holder of a long-term work pass who is sick with covid-19, unless they tested positive shortly after returning from overseas.

“This was to avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when covid-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease,” the Health Ministry said in its statement.

“Until the covid-19 situation is more stable,” it added, it will continue to cover related medical costs for those who are vaccinated, as well as for those still not eligible: children 12 and under and people with certain medical conditions. Partially vaccinated people in Singapore will be covered until Dec. 31.

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Singapore is considered to have one of the world’s the best health-care systems. A 2017 study in the leading medical journal the Lancet found that Singapore ranked first among 188 countries in efforts to meet health-related sustainable development goals set by the United Nations for 2030.

The Singaporean model, however, depends heavily on privatized medical services, meaning that the unvaccinated may already have coverage if they become sick with covid-19. In the United States, for example, about one-third of health-care spending is private, while in Singapore it is the opposite, according to an analysis by the New York Times.

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Moreover, workers in Singapore are mandated to put a portion of their salaries away in health savings accounts, which employees are also required to contribute to based on varying criteria.

Under this system, bills for the unvaccinated will still be “highly supported and highly subsidized,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told a news conference Monday, Yahoo News reported.

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“Hospitals really much prefer not to have to bill these patients at all,” Ong said. “But we have to send this important signal to urge everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible.”

Singapore recorded some 91,000 new coronavirus infections over the past 28 days, 98.7 percent of which were asymptomatic or mild cases, according to the Health Ministry.

As of Nov. 7, 1,725 people were hospitalized with the virus. Of those, according to the Health Ministry, 301 have required oxygen, 62 are under close monitoring in the intensive care unit and 67 are critically ill and intubated. That has put Singapore’s current ICU use rate at 68.5 percent.

“While this is still manageable by stretching our health care manpower, we must not let down our guard and must avoid a resurgence of cases that could once again threaten to overwhelm our health care system,” the Health Ministry said Monday.

Early in the pandemic, Singapore relied on extensive surveillance, contact tracing and strict movement restrictions to keep virus cases low. The heavily surveilled city-state has since begun easing some virus-related restrictions.
The Covid-19 vaccine debate is getting weird. On Twitter, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused Big Bird of pushing “Government propaganda…for your 5 year old!” after the Muppet tweeted about getting the shot in his wing.

CNN aired a special on Saturday with “Sesame Street” to explain the vaccine to children ages 5-11, who are now eligible to get the shot.
Watch Rosita, a green Muppet, overcome her fear and bravely get her first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, did not. Then he lied about it. And now he’s trying to explain it away.
Rodgers seemed so smart when guest hosting “Jeopardy” in the spring. He did not sound very smart when he spewed Covid-19 conspiracy theories on a podcast Friday and said that he had done his own research rather than rely on the medical community’s advice. Once known for speaking out about social justice, he’s now mainlining conservative talking points and complaining a “woke mob” is out to get him.
Some people will not be convinced. Rodgers bought into the false and viral fear that the vaccine could affect fertility. He’s getting advice from the anti-vaccine podcast host Joe Rogan, who is not a doctor but who debated vaccines for more than three hours with CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta last month.
Room for debate. The vast majority of doctors and the public health community is on board with vaccines. But support is not unanimous. It is not completely settled within the National Institutes of Health, which includes Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a Sunday report in the Wall Street Journal.
The paper profiles the NIH’s Dr. Matthew Memoli, a senior researcher who disagrees with the country’s current all-in approach on vaccines. He’s applied for a religious exemption for himself and feels the country should be pushing the vaccine to at-risk communities like seniors rather than giving it to as many people as possible.
He’ll take part in a debate streamed to NIH employees, according to the Journal, and he is apparently willing to leave his job rather than get the Covid-19 shot.
US borders reopen. While debates continue, travel policies are evolving. See: fully booked flights from Europe and traffic stretching for miles into Mexico. US borders opened up to vaccinated international travelers Monday, ending an 18-month moratorium and marking a welcome change to the pandemic lifestyle as cases drop in the US. But this comes just as the virus reemerges in Europe.

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