Thursday, October 28, 2010

Better Headlines Please!

“My heart bypass surgery cost me $8”

“What?” “Are you sure?” “In Singapore?” These were the words of disbelief that greeted Singapore Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s statement that his heart bypass surgery in early May cost him only $8.

I admit I also have the same problem. I did not believe him. In expensive Singapore, having to pay $8 for any surgery is unheard of. The devil is in the details.

When reading the 57-year-old personal blog, most of his bill was actually paid by his personal health insurance along with the government MediShield plan. $8 covered the reminder of the bill.

That makes prefect sense. However, most people who do not check further will just be fooled by the headline of “My heart bypass surgery cost me $8.”

That brings me to the main point of this post; Headlines!

We need better headlines from the Singapore newspapers. Really, “My heart bypass surgery cost me $8” is totally wrong. Mr. Khaw’s bill is far more than that because the bill was paid from his personal insurance policy which he paid yearly premium on. That is still money out of his pocket right?

To be fair, this isn’t just a Singapore problem. Anyone who glanced at the news from France will be fooled by the “retirement at 62” headlines. However under the new French rules, retirement at 62 with full pension is almost impossible and the actual age of retirement under the new rules is 65.

So the next time you read a big bold headline, look into the details of the story. The actual facts could very well be totally different from it.

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