Re: What's your idea of Health Care Reform?
I have just started my vacation HTG so I am game to step in here and have a go.
It is a shame that Obama postponed his recent visit to Australia to head back to lead the battle for health reform. If he had of stepped foot in our country he may have got a chance to look at a health care system that is meeting the needs of a large chunk of australians. ( not all but a large share)
Next time he is here he should have a look at our health system. It isnt anywhere near perfect but it has levels of support that ensure that medical care is available to all.
We have a Medicare system that is funded by all taxpayers (proportionate to the amount you earn). Doctors can bulk bill the medicare system or charge their own fees and their clients can seek reimbursement of their entitled share from the medicare pool.
At the lowest level, anyone on social welfare support recieves a health care card that provides access to health care. Individuals on disability pensions, veterans affairs and aged pensions receive also receive free medical support and heavily subsidised pharmaceuticals.
All medical support is readily available through the public health network. Above the public health network is the private health network that is financed by the private health schemes that people elect to become members of. Workers who earn above the tax threshold get tax concessions on their Medicare tax payments if they join private health schemes. The benefits of private health schemes are that you can have the doctor and hospital of your choice on an almost immediate timeline.
The public system has extended waits for elective surgery, but immediate access for life threatening illnesses.
Australians feel very unsafe when travelling as our health system is usually pretty reliable with a high standard of care. If you get sick overseas it is a very scary situation from both a medical and financial stand point as the safety network we have afforded here is no where near existent in other countries
I am not saying our system is perfect. It leaks billions of dollars a year. We have a serious doctor shortage in rural and remote areas due to financial constraints. Dental health is suffering a real shortage in skilled workers and as a result across all areas of health our government is having to access skilled practitioners from overseas. Waiting lists for specialists are getting longer - but the common trend is that our population is aging and growing whilst our of skilled doctors and specialists is not growing proportionately.
As a parent of a child with a disabiity who has many surgeries I cannot fault the service she has received across all our tiers of access ( * via disability pension health card * public hospital waiting list * private health elective surgery). As of Thursday she needs grommets to improve her hearing (it is slowly declining) and even though it is elective surgery we need only wait two weeks before she will be operated on.
I guess we really are the lucky country and we do take some things for granted.
I am not an expert but I thought I would show that some countries do have functional health care systems and good things are possible if all levels of bureacracy are on the same page.
By the way HTG - I am really looking forward to my two week vacation. I hope you get to enjoy your easter break
as much as I will.