Monday, September 8, 2008

(Prelude to) Emergency Ward Charges

The Straits Times ran an article today (8 September) in its print edition on overcrowding in emergency wards from an overwhelming preponderance of non-emergency cases. In a related article, it also highlighted the discrepancy in emergency ward charges and charges at 24 hour general practitioner clinics. Specifically, the former were cheaper for the majority of patients compared to the latter.

Published by any other newspaper, this article (which I feel, for the record, is newsworthy) could have been taken simply at face value.

Published by the Straits Times, however, this article makes the needle on my internal spin detector start to quiver.

I could of course be wrong, but given the track record of the Straits Times putting the best possible face on any unpopular course of government action, this article could be a prelude to an increase in emergency ward charges.

If you're going to manage newsflow for the purpose of defusing tension on the ground, why not pre-empt sentiment by laying the grounds for an unpopular rise in prices before the policy comes into effect?

Especially before the goodwill from instituting better baby benefits has run its course... 

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