Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah, The Joys Of Government Controlled Health Care


Unknown said...

The myth of 'Socialised medicine', one of the best jokes that americans have ever come up with! Hilarious; and a brilliant bit of 'spin', making something truly useful seem like an abomination, hell-bent on oppressing people and wasting money - good health never seemed so bad!
I say 'the myth of socialised medicine' as it doesn't actual exist, this is a pejorative term for 'universal healthcare' devised by a nation that doesn't have such a policy (ie. if the US had universal healthcare and it was called 'socialised medicine', and was based on socialist concept then fair enough, but instead you folks have decided to condemn something you simply don't understand).
I'll make this simple, governments levy taxes to run the country/provide essential services. For all the things that my tax pays for, universal healthcare is one of the few things that I truly feel happy about. To know that I can/have/will receive the best treatment that money can buy - without having to worry about anything other than getting well again is the kind of peace of mind that must be truly alien to a nation that has the threat of communist-sounding 'socialised medicine' drilled into them as a great horror.

(from the link in post)
"Australia's universal health care scheme... As with all socialized health care systems, there is a mixture of public versus private care (approximately 30% of Australians also retain private health insurance). As a result, the private patients receive better care than their Medicare counterparts."

I can say with great certainty that this is pure fiction - if there is anything that the private system in Australia can provide is a bunch of flowers in yer hospital room, and s'posedly (a slightly) shorter waiting list on non essential surgery, but as someone who recently underwent some non-essential surgery (and urgent treatment many years ago) - the scary stories of critically ill people waiting for unreasonable time are either false, missing a major detail (such as surgery waiting on compatible transplant organs), or otherwise misleading. It's the half-truths that the opposition party comes out with around election time. I noticed one of the articles from link provided about Australian healthcare system is from 'the herald sun' ... there's a famous bumper sticker over here 'is that the truth, or did you read it in the herald sun?'

I had a infected (ingrown) toenail that I left untreated for about 10-14 months (too busy to get it fixed), after the initial surgical consultation, it took about 3 weeks to get booked in with a full surgical team (two surgeons, a surgical nurse, an anaesthetist, and a nurse to keep me company/chilled-out) ... all for (an extremely badly infected) toenail!

However, if you have a medical emergency in Australia, from start to finish, you'd have a hard time finding a better service (either technological advancement, patient care, positive outcomes or efficiency) anywhere in the world... and not have to worry about the cost (something my sister couldn't say about the treatment that her daughter got in america... fortunately my niece survived the 'mystery virus' (doctor speak for 'we have no idea what is wrong'), and my sister has enough money to pay for bunch of doctors to scratch their collective heads while applying a saline drip - the most expensive pint of salty water ever!

Unknown said...


So what it comes down to is that governments use tax money for a variety of services, in Australia (one of the examples in the link provided in Chris' original post) previous Australian governments have dabbled with selling-off services and infrastructure - the minimal government being a NeoCon principle, but the results have been far from inspiring. Notable privatisation deals have included selling the national telco that returned a net profit of several billion dollars a year for a bargain price. New major road projects have tended to be deals with the private sector, with investments/profits being returned in the form of tolls on major road network. This might look like a good model of business from a Non-conservative point of view, a minimal government model where the private sector is free to do business. The reality is that assets and businesses that were owned by 'the people' that were returning a profit were sold-off for a small, one-time cash payment that makes the budget look good for that year, while the government subsidises the profits of incompetent foreign private sector operators.
Having sold-off valuable assets that used to provide useful income streams, the governments (both state and federal) now pay for second-rate services to privatised companies that are interested only in profits. This wave of selling-off anything that was worth anything fitted with NeoCon ideas of minimal government ownership, but has not provided the improved service/efficiency that NeoCon theory says is the goal/result of minimal government.

In the area of health services the only real privatisations has been of the Ambulance service, at least in the state of Victoria (2nd largest state on basis of population). Ambulance call-out times increased, and it is believed that lives were lost as result.
While the one most powerful threat to universal healthcare in Australia has been american pharmaceutical companies. The idea of making healthcare accessible to all, including subsidising prescriptions to a fixed rate of $4.70 per prescription for PBS listed pharmaceuticals to pensioners/low income earners, and cheap generic versions of medicines of which patents have expired. The Australian federal government paid the difference between cost price of all medicines and the price which the public were/are charged. Despite getting paid their asking price, american pharma co's and their anti-competitive cartelism were able convince that jelly-back stooge, George W Bush that american pharma co's should dictate how Australia looks after the health of it citizens - despite making medicine affordable to far more people than would otherwise be possible if not subsidised (ie. subsidised pharmaceuticals increased profits for US co's, but money isn't enough).
This thuggery and economic warfare is what america considers 'free trade'.

So of all the things that government can spend tax on, they could do a lot worse than providing a world-class health system 'without strings attached', and as far as 'basic essentials' goes, there isn't anything important after food and shelter.

If I didn't know how deadly serious and afraid of the idea of good health for all some americans are, I'd find it far more funny than I do currently. However, while it's one thing to freak-out and be terrified, just because someone's managed to fit the idea of socialist conspiracy into the name of american ideas about universal healthcare, I'd be a lot happier if america didn't try to destroy the healthcare systems of nations who are s'posed to be allies - we're happy with what we've got, no nation is try to impose universal healthcare on the US, and I think I can safely speak for many when I say 'can you please keep your anti-socialist paranoia limited to the sad, but funny delusions, and not inflict your out-of-control pharma co's on the rest of us, please'