Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sending an invoice to a school

Last year, I sold shape quiz and tangram books to a school. They asked me to sent an e-invoice. I had a lot of trouble to register for an vendor ID at the government website. I also recorded the details of the website address, user ID and password.

I received a repeat order this year. I went to the government website to create the e-invoice. The website said that my vendor ID is rejected.

I had no idea why it should be rejected. I send an online form.

I don't understand why the government makes it so difficult to me to do business with a school. It is unfair, wasteful and unproductive. By saving a few minutes of time, they created a lot of work for the vendor.

I had sent this issue to the Ministry of Finance last year. Looks like, I have to bring it up again.

Settlement options under a life insurance policy

Can an insurance company withdraw its settlement options that it guaranteed to the policyholder? The wording said that the election of the option is subject to "acceptance by the Company" but this condition is unreasonable. Here are my reasons.

Are we having problems in relations with Indonesia and China?

Dear Mr. Tan,
Here are two recent events that get me worried about our future. The two countries that are very important to Singapore are Indonesia and China.
For Indonesia, there was the recent issue of the naming of their warship as Harun Usman. There was also a ban on export of granite to Singapore.
For China, their President XJP, decided by bypass Singapore on his recent tour of South East Asia.
Are these two countries, that are important to Singapore, unhappy with us? What did we do wrong?

I don't know. Perhaps we appear to be too arrogant for a small country?

A new approach towards national defense for Singapore

Singapore now has 70,000 active military personnel, comprising 30,000 regulars and 40,000 conscripts serving national service for two years and 13 years of active reservists duty. The reservists are expected to be operationally ready and are called up once a year to spend two weeks in training. They are also required to pass the physical proficiency test, failing which, they have to attend remedial training. This requirement can be taxing for most reservists who have to do a full time job and to look after a family.

I wish to propose a new approach - that will reduce the demand on the conscripts and reservists. The conscripts will be required to serve full time for 12 months only. This is sufficient for the military training for non-officers. The conscripts can be discharged after 12 months and be placed on  active reservist duty for 5 years and passive reservist duty for 8 years. 

To maintain our active personnel at 70,000, we need to recruit another 20,000 regulars, to make a total of 50,000. It is better to rely on a larger professional army than on conscripts.

I estimate that the additional cost of replacing 20,000 full time conscripts with professional soldiers to be $600 million, taking into account the difference in salary between professionals and conscripts. 

The reservists are expected to be fit and operationally ready for 5 years. After 5 years, they are placed on passive duty and will not be called up for reservists training or to pass the physical test. By that time, they are likely to settle down to start a family. If they are relieved of active reservist duty, they can carry on their work and family life without being interrupted by call ups.

This will provide a pool of 100,000 active reservists that are operationally ready at all times. This number, together with 70,000 active personnel, should be sufficient for our defense capability. During times of war or hostility, the other reservists can be called up and put under refresher courses and remedial training. As they have gone through military training. 

If the reservists are placed on another 8 years of passive reservist duty, it will provide another 160,000 personnel that can be called up for refresher and remedial training. 

By releasing 160,000 personnel from active reservist training, the savings in the defense budget is estimated to be $500 million, assuming that it cost $3,000 to train a reservist for two weeks in a year. This will nearly offset the $600 million required to replace 20,000 conscripts (during their second year) by professional soldiers.  The total defense budget works out to be almost the same.

Here is the score card.

Current system - 30,000 professionals, 40,000 conscripts, 260,000 operationally ready reserves
New system - 50,000 professionals, 20,000 conscripts, 100,000 operationally ready reserves, 160,000 passive reserves.

Defense budget - about the same for both systems. The new system is likely to produce a more effective defense force, and to require less sacrifice from male citizens - as they serve 12 months of full time military service and have to be operationally ready for 5 years (instead of 13 years). 

Tan Kin Lian 

High medical bills for terminal illness

David Soh said.
A close friend of mine recently passed away, Lung Cancer - was almost cured but after going to another x private hospital which gave conflicting views and treatment', the bill cost @ $120,000 over a month. Another case, the daughter was treated in a private hospital cost almost $1m and subsequently passed away. 
Actually what we need is competent good doctors in our Government Hospital, which to date I have seen only 1 out of 10 doctors which has patient's care and concern rather than treating them as production plan, due to the long queue. Most of them have gone private. It is the result of this that forced patients to seek private hospitals which I have came across cases where the doctor will ask if you are covered by insurance your bill is higher than cash.
It is no point having a good Medical Insurance eg Medishield Life when the profession lacks professionalism which causes patients bills to escalate which will cause insurance premiums to increase.
We are govern by too many SOP etc, like my friend case I wanted the Medical Council to use her case as CASE STUDY to see where go wrong to use as a teaching case study, their reply need the family to file a COMPLAINT and they will investigate as they are govern by the ACT.
This explains why a lot of cases not reported as the demise families normally will not persue the matter. What we need besides better Medical Insurance Plans like Medishield Life, is competent medical services

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Medishield Life - risk of escalating cost

Many people are worried that Medishield Life will be very expensive. Their concerns are valid.

Let me use this example to demonstrate how bad things can become. An Englishman, who had lived in Singapore for more than ten years, recently went back to the UK to visit his uncle, who was terminally ill with cancer. The uncle was in the late 50s.

The doctors of the National Health Service of the UK had concluded that the cancer had reached a stage beyond cure and this was accepted by the patient and the family. They had trust that the NHS would have done whatever could be done.

Imagine a similar case in Singapore, and the patient was insured under Medishield Life and it was outsourced to a private, for-profit insurer.

If the insurer had concluded that the patient was beyond cure, the patient and the family might not accept this conclusion, and might suspect that the insurer was trying to cap their liability. The patient might have gone for expensive and futile treatment. The cost would be borne by the insurance scheme, and everybody would have to pay higher premium.

I am worried that the Medishield Life would not have the management structure and the co-operation of the patient in controlling the cost of treatment, and the cost would escalate rapidly. This was the experience in America. Our model appears to be following the American model.

I hope that the Review Committee is aware of this risk and will be able to find a solution to deal with it.

Tan Kin Lian

Should National Service be shortened?

Over 95% of Singaporeans wish to reduce National Service by half, compared to those who prefer to keep the status quo. What are your views? Make your voice heard by signing one of the petitions here. Act now. It is for the future of your children and grand children.

Go beyond Pioneer Generation

The Government should not restrict financial assistance to the "pioneer generation" only. 

This burden of paying for higher health care cost will be faced by every elderly person, regardless of whether they belong to the pioneer or non-pioneer generation. 

It is better to give the financial assistance to everyone above age 65, including those reaching this age in all future years as well.

Budget surplus for Singapore - the IMP figure

In the budget statement last year, the government reported the budget surplus for 2012 at $3.9 billion. According to IMF standards, this is grossly under-reported. The actual budget surplus is $36 billion. If this is the case, there is no need for the government to increase taxes to fund social benefits. They can even remove GST, which adds to the high cost of living .

How to stop increases in medical cost

he Prime Minister has announced that Medishield will be extended to cover health care for a lifetime, will cover pre-existing conditions and cover people who were excluded previously.

The public is worried that the premium for the new scheme, called Medishield Life, will increase significantly. There are discussions on who should bear the higher cost, and if pre-funding can be a way to make the scheme more affordable to older people (by getting them to pay more when they are young).

I have submitted my views on the key elements that have to be dealt with. There is a need for Medishield Life management to negotiate the fees for medical treatment, and to have advice on what are appropriate treatment to be given to patients. If there is no control over these matters, consumers will have to pay higher premiums as medical costs can escalate.

The outsourcing of Medishield to private insurers does not help to improve the situation. It leads to higher cost, due to marketing and private sector profits.

Read the PDF for more details.

Petition to reduce National Service

For the sake of our future generation, we must have a united voice in asking the Government to reduce full time and reservist National Service, so that our male citizens have a chance to compete fairly for a good job and lead a decent life. 

I urge all parents and all Singaporeans to support this petition, and to spread the message to their relatives, friends and colleagues to support the Petition.
Tan Kin Lian

Pre Budget 2014 - TKL views

Here is my presentation at the Pre Budget Forum

Here are the charts presented at the forum

National Service and Reservist Training

Read the views of our NS men and reservists in this Facebook Page and understand how it affects them badly.

Blog Archive