The 2017 Federal Budget has been released.
Some people are freaking out about the new Medicare Levy.
In case you missed it: it’s soon going to cost every taxpayer another 0.5% in tax every year, as the Medicare Levy is going up from 2% to 2.5%.
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This is slightly annoying, yes. If you earn $50,000 per year, you’re going to pay another $250 per year in tax, or just under $10 per week.
But that’s also a small price to pay for access to medical care.
And not just any medical care: high quality, readily available medical care, which you can access 24/7.
We have the Gold Coast University Hospital, a $2bn health facility, available to us, which is really quite extraordinary.
In the United States, it’s a different story altogether. We recently returned from a holiday in the US and there were daily headlines about the state of their healthcare system, as access to it via health insurance is currently being overhauled.
Jimmy Kimmel was even brought to tears during his nightly monologue, when he described his baby son’s recent health battle. Kimmel made this very valid point: “I saw a lot of families there, and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life,” he said. “It just shouldn’t happen.”
Now, I’m not saying the Australian healthcare system is perfect.
But it does give every single Australian piece of mind that we have access to quality healthcare.
We can visit the bulk-billed doctor for free.
We can turn up to the emergency room at a public hospital and get treated, knowing we’ll never receive a surprise medical bill for thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars afterwards.
Our friends across the ocean in the United States don’t have this luxury.
So perhaps instead of whining about a tiny tax increase, we should be focusing on what really matters and counting our blessings?