How we can avoid an Americanised health system

I want to share a story I learnt about over the weekend.

It’s about a mum, aged in her late 20s, who’s living pretty close to the bone.

Her husband is the main income earner and she shared that they’re struggling to pay the bills. He brings home about $1,050 a week, so they’re not exactly on the bones of their bum, but there’s not much left over. After they pay the mortgage, the electricity, the rates and the rest, they have just about enough to cover nappies and petrol and that’s about it.


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There’s nothing leftover for ‘luxuries’ like baby clothes, or new winter jumpers, or a haircut.

“If something unexpected happens, like the car breaks down or we have to visit the dentist, it will put us over the edge,” she confided.

This is the person I want you to think about when you vote this federal election.

Because the outcome of the next election could dramatically and irrevocably change the way Medicare runs in this country.

It will either continue to run as it is, giving all Australians fairly decent access to medical care as and when they need it.

Or it will take a giant step towards the American ‘user pays’ system, which ultimately means the privatised hospitals deliver sky high profits to their shareholders, and the people with the most money get the most care.

The ALP is planning to freeze Medicare rebates to GPs, essentially meaning doctors will continue to be paid the same rate in 2020 that they’ve been paid for years.

Already, this is putting huge financial pressure on GPs and many have started charging higher consultation fees.

Forget the $7 co-payment that was mooted many moons ago – we’re talking about a gap of $10, $20, up to $50 per doctor’s visit.

As it stands, the family I mentioned earlier has free and clear access to health care. But under the ALP’s plans, this family will have to find $10-$50 if they need to see a doctor.

They don’t have this money spare, so can you guess what will happen next?

They’ll skip the GP visit – and either let their health issues fester they require a hospital visit, or they’ll bypass the GP and go straight to the emergency department with non-emergency complaints.

Either way, it’s going to cost taxpayers a ton more than a small increase to the Medicare GP rebate.

So think about health when you’re voting this election. Not just yours, but the entire community’s.

Because we’re on the precipice of some of the most impactful changes to Medicare we’ve ever witnessed, and the wrong move here could cost us all far more than bargained for.

The Meddler

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