To the point: why should Gen Y or Gen Z care about MediShield LIFE?
I’m not going to go into technical details. But I would like to raise a simple question: how sustainable is MediShield Life going to be for our generation (those born after the 80s)?
In one Budget, the Government has taken care of an entire generation’s healthcare needs. But what of the rest of us?
It’s premature to say that premiums would be unaffordable, for now. Tiered subsidies will tide all of us through for the next four years.
But what happens after the next four years? What happens after 2020, when the workforce will start to shrink? What happens after 2030, when one in five will be above 65?
What will the costs of MediShield Life look like by then for the average young person today?
My concerns do not end here.
How will we, the children of the post-80s generation, foot the bill? Universal coverage mandates that we pool our risks together. In essence, solidarity is needed. Solidarity is, I would say, a large part of why the Scandinavian countries have succeeded in their social policies. The success of MediShield Life, then, depends on solidarity too. It’s up to us to determine if this is possible.
The permanence of any Government policy depends also on us. After all, we are the ones who vote political parties into power. In 2020 and beyond, would the Government of the day have the wherewithal to shoulder this responsibility of universal coverage? No government has lived to tell the tale, as far as I know. Debt-laden governments are very often the outcomes in such cases.
By and large, MediShield Life is a policy with good intentions. But copious amounts of money would have to be spent on such a universal social insurance scheme. My concerns would be overblown if we had a sufficiently young population. However, our population is ageing, and rapidly too. For that reason, I worry about MediShield Life’s long-term sustainability for our generation, the youth of today.
We stand therefore on the edge of a very uncertain future, where the policies of today have a significant impact on the generations of tomorrow. I would gently urge us pause to think very carefully of what MediShield Life’s implications are for us young people, and what it would take for Medishield Life to succeed for us and for future generations.