You probably don’t think about the Australian health system very much.
I mean, why would you? It’s just there – chugging along each day as a flawed yet functional system that ensures (for the most part) that every single Australian has the opportunity to get well when they’re sick.
The only time I give it much thought it when I hear a story about an American paying $17,000 for a blood test or having to choose between their home and an essential life-saving operation.
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When I hear those stories, I breath a silent sigh of relief that we live in Australia. We have Medicare. We’re not in America. Phew…
But hold on; let’s say you are thinking about our health system. In this context, can you think of anything worse than privatising Medicare?
I can’t. Honestly, the idea of taking any part of our public health system and privatising it makes me feel sick to my stomach (isn’t that ironic?)
However Malcolm Turnball, bless his 1000-count Egyptian cotton socks, seems to think it’s a rock solid idea.
Now, I lived in Sydney for seven years, six of them in his electorate, and from all of the flyers and brochures his team used to jam in our mailbox, he seemed like a pretty stand-up guy. But why is he messing with Medicare, y’all?
In Senate Estimates earlier this year, Departmental officials confirmed that $5 million was being spent on a 20-person taskforce, which was established with the sole purpose of examining the “commercial possibilities” of the Medicare payments system.
And as Bob Hawke says: “Everybody knows you don’t set up a Medicare privatisation task force unless you aim to privatise Medicare.”
A little further investigation reveals that the Liberals aren’t planning to privatise the entire health system (yet).
Rather, Turnbull and his players are investigating the privatisation of the Medicare payments system, to make it more efficient and consequently save money.
But it’s a slippery slope, right?
First they private the payment processing system, then they privatise data handling…
And before you know it, you’re paying $17,000 for a blood test.
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