The Pickering Post
Saturday, 21st July 2018

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THE MYTH OF FREE HEALTHCARE

Dr Scalpel - Master of Incisive Comments

Dr Scalpel is a pseudonym for a real doctor who has worked in both the public and private sectors for over 35 years. He is a specialist surgeon who has been there, done that.

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Healthcare is never free - somebody has to pay for it. Queensland used to have an excellent system, about 50:50 public:private, with the public system funded largely by the Golden Casket (pre-Lotto days) and the private system having your premiums as a tax deduction.

Then along came Bill Hayden, Steven Duckett, and John Deeble - and Medibank was born in about 1972, if memory serves. This is what then morphed into what we now know as Medicare. They took the basic premise of Queensland's system and made it national.
Except it had flaws.

The "Schedule of Rebates" (which is NOT - as some people think - a schedule of fees) was made up of rebates of 85% of a then-acceptable fee for outpatient services, and 75% for in-patient services. But doctors could still charge what they felt they were worth, depending on supply and demand, not to mention reputation, special skills, etc.

A visit to the GP cost a few bucks, and you got 85% of it back from Medibank/Medicare. It appeared to be sustainable.

And then the rot set in - entrepreneurial GPs such as Geoffrey Edelsten and others figured that by practising conveyor-belt "consultations', and BULK BILLING to the governement, with nothing to pay for the patients, they could turn all those 85% rebates into a lucrative income.

And thus the whole mirage of "free GP visits" was born. Patients loved these bulk-billing clinics, as they didn't have to pay anything out of pocket. The GPs pushed the patients through in 3-5 minute time slots, and made a fortune - which was actually over-servicing in terms of patient numbers, but under-servicing in terms of patient care.

Now, a couple of generations on, the public have got used to the idea of bulk billing clinics, and object to having to pay ANYTHING towards their healthcare. Many of them continue to smoke, eat junk food, drink alcohol, and generally indulge in other things that cost money, including going to the football, paying to get their car fixed, whatever.

But they don't want to pay $7 towards their own healthcare - they have become used to this misconception of healthcare being "free". However - ALL taxpayers pay for it via the Medicare levy. Those who are on various benefits and social welfare contribute nothing. 

But the whole "mirage" of "free healthcare" is flawed. It was never intended to be FREE. It was intended to be UNIVERSAL - as in: anyone had access to good healthcare when it was needed. But now we have the expectation that it is free, it is grossly overused (whatever happened to tucking up in bed when you got a cold or the flu?), and is in no way sustainable. 

We have a population that is aging, and many of those are becoming more dependent on the medical system. At the same time, we have a steady-state or decreasing number of working tax-payers who are actually paying for Medicare. Private health cover is no longer tax deductible. Even if you already pay the Medicare levy.

So we have an expectation and a false notion that the healthcare system is, and should be "free" - which it isn't and never has been. I live in a reasonably good socio-economic suburb - and there are few or no bulk-billing GPs around here. We pay to go. Always have. 

So just how is this proposed co-payment an "attack on free healthcare", when healthcare isn't free anyway, never has been, and was never intended to be? 

If it makes people think before going to the GP for every cough and snuffle, just because they currently can, and it's "free", then it may just free up some resources for those who really need it.

I have worked in both the public hospital system and the private hospital system for a long time. Yes, there are a few - a small number - of private specialists who charge like wounded bulls, way over the top of even private health cover, and who are greedy bastards with overblown senses of their own worth. And they really queer the pitch for the vast majority of medicos who are really trying hard to give the best possible healthcare to their patients. But these greedy bastards shouldn't tar the private health system with the one brush. 

Likewise, we have greedy bastards who run bulk-billing clinics - not for the benefit of their patients, but for the benefit of their bank accounts or their corporate bosses. Why do you think companies like Primary Healhcare and others have spent fortunes buying up bulk-billing clinics? It's because they are businesses, whose sole aim is to make money. Churn patients through at high volume and claim all those 85% rebates back in big dollars.

That's not free healthcare. And it's not GOOD healthcare. Neither are the greedy overcharging private specialists. 

We should go back to the old Queensland system, where private health insurance was tax deductible (and nobody charged gaps over and above it), and the public system is means tested. And visits to the GP mean you have to pay a few bucks out of pocket.

Sounds fair to me....



Comments

I was reading not long ago figures on the Illiterate's in this Country, it is frightening, they were quoting 47% are illiterate and worse in Tasmania, maybe that is the answer why the Labor illiterate's keep getting votes...... boom boom

It isn't the $7 that should be worrying - it's the $5 component that will be going to fund a scheme to increase the overall health benefits to all of us. Why promote a scheme designed to improve everyone's health and therefore an individual's life expectancy, when we're finding it extremely difficult to sustain our older people, even today?

Sounds fair to me as well. Twice in the last 3 years, I've need spinal surgery (not exploratory as I *do* have one) and I've been about 10 grand out of pocket over-and-above what medicare and private health have paid out. I'd like my health to stop fucking me over for a couple of years so that I can go to work to earn money for the house or car or something else....

I've got a few years under my belt and one thing in life I have learned is that NOTHING is free and the sooner this entitlement class gets that into their friggin scones the better for all of us. [email protected]*k the Liebor Pardy, Greens, Independents, Socialists, Commie Gizzard and dickhead Krudd for perpetuating this myth.

Reposted: Medical treatment of the future. Bit long but well worth the time. Some interesting comments regarding the waste of billions of dollars which would also apply to Australia.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/r13uYs7jglg

Nothing has ever been free - and $7.00 for a visit to the doctors isn't even the cost of a hamburger and chips. Can't see the problem like Shorten carries on about - people dying left right and centre due to a pittance of $7.00 - it is fair and reasonable and would sustain the system.

Well wouldn't it just make that Rag Doll Roxon roll over in her political grave! Figures out today are saying that Tobacco sales have increased since they put pictures of the ALP Members on the packets!

The piggy is it Howes or SHY.

There is an elephant in the room , his Name is Bruce Rugby, it is good with out him ?

I am a grateful DSP recipient with multiple chronic problems, see a number of GPs and specialists on a regular basis - and find the $7 co-payment reasonable and acceptable.

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I ‘m seeing a lot of pessimists out there!
You should be thanking your lucky stars that we’ve
got such a great team, Abbott, Hockey, Julie, Dutton,
Pyne, Morrison, Barney Joice, Wazza Truss and even
Malcolm, plus all the others not mentioned.
They are leaving the left rabble for dead in debate.
it’s the dopey public that are the only danger.

“As Marcel Proust once said, he who walks the way of Kaptainskye is not to walk. Or so most believe.”

G'day all. I don't know if anyone out there watches Checkout on the dreaded ABC but there was supposed to be a "Star System" introduced in June to show how healthy (overall) one bit of tucker is compared to other brands. Very easy to understand and no bullshit but guess what, Liberal assistant minister for health or something, Fiona Nash has blocked it because her mate or relation, who happens to be a fuckhead lobbyist for a very unhealthy company, has persuaded her that it's not in his company's interest. What a fucking laugh this sheila is. As corrupt as any of the pricks on the other side. I'm no health nut by any stretch but fuck me, I should be able to readily understand how healthy for me one brand is over the other without a degree in science. Shouldn't I?

A very moving report of a surviving Lancaster crewman visiting the village that concealed him from the Germans in WWII on 7:30 Report. Then back to the ball keeper to close the show.

"JUST SAYIN"

I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people. I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.

I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People move out of the way much faster now.

You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.

Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone? That's common sense leaving your body.

I don't like making plans for the day because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom.

I didn't make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row!

I decided to change calling the bathroom the John and renamed it the Jim. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for murderers, if you find one, what's your plan?

Now the 730 report are on about the Tea Leaf picker topping himself,Now all I can say is so what,we don't want these country shoppers here.Boo Hoo.

Posters.OT Did anyone watch 730 with Turncoat,Bloody hell the bastard is plotting,tried to say he is behind the PM,I say crap.I just want to ask why was he having Dinner with the Fat Fool.The Fat Fool has some thing cooking with Turncoat,So Mr Abbott you have to sack the back stabber now not yesterday.And I believe Bolt and Jones for grilling Turncoat.So Turncoat leave the Parliment or join the Greens,your a back stabbing prick.

My wife was an RN at the time of Medibank. Prior to introducing Medibank the Government conducted a poll of nurses, who rejected the idea, as they had knowledge of the failing systems in GB and Canada. The nurses were ignored.

...I remember saying years ago when bulk billing came in...the Labor Party has given Doctors who want to...a licence to print money...bulk billing surgeries through the Medicare Card have been given a Money printing press...there is no accountability by anyone...but do the bulk-billing doctors love it...the Doctors must be singing their Medicare anthem of "We're in the Money"...its a total disgrace...but all in true Socialist left wing ideology...freebee's for the drones so they keep voting Labor/Greens...