2.2 or 8% healthcare spending as % of GDP?


Is our healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP about 8%?

I refer to the article “Singapore Budget 2018: Spending needs to grow in healthcare, infrastructure, security and education” (Business Times, Feb 18).

It states that “All in all, we expect our average annual healthcare spending to rise from 2.2 per cent of GDP today to almost 3 per cent of GDP over the next decade. This is an increase of nearly 0.8-percentage point of GDP, or about S$3.6 billion in today’s dollars. Within the next decade, healthcare spending is expected to overtake education.”

Since I understand that Singapore”s public healthcare spending is about a third of total healthcare spending – does it mean that total healthcare spending may be about 6.6% (2.2% x 3) of GDP?

Since annual Medisave contributions are I understand more than $10 billion – and it is in a sense like an implicit tax or akin to a pre-paid health insurance contribution – does it mean that total healthcare spending, from a cashflow perspective, may be about 8%?

In contrast, the United Kingdom’s healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP is about 7.4% in 2017, and the share of public healthcare spending is about 83.2%, compared to about a third in Singapore.

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.