Monday, July 13, 2009

Back On My Soapbox

I know I keep harping on this subject, but I think it is of great importance that we get a good, fair healthcare bill out of our do nothing congress and senate, and the only way to do it is to keep nagging at them. If you research the healthcare systems of other countries, you will see that most of them have some sort of public option as well as a private insurance option.

I happened upon a new (for me) blog called 70 Plus and Still Kicking, a day or two ago, and she posted a very interesting and informative blog about health care in Australia. I would like to share some of it with you, and if you are interested, you can go there and read and comment for yourself.

"We in Australia have free hospitals and doctors, but have the option of insurance and private hospitals with the choice of doctors available then. We do pay a token amount to go to general practitioners of our choice and the remainder is government subsidy. Many GPs do 'bulk bill' with no cost to the patient.

Today I rely on a government pension through no fault of my own, having worked fifty years, but two divorces and conniving lawyers (one later gaoled for fraud) didn't help.

As an aged pensioner I pay only $A5 for any prescription and indeed am on three I will need for the rest of my life. People not on any benefit pay for their scripts but there is a government system which works to ensure that pharmaceutical companies cannot control prices absolutely as they do in your country. Our scripts are much cheaper as a result.

If I need hospital treatment and go public it costs nothing. I come home with no bills of any kind, and so does everyone else unless they have insurance, and then payments are made.

There can be a wait for non urgent surgery, but that too is being addressed. If your situation is life threatening a free ambulance takes you straight in.

Due to neglect for twelve years with a government seemingly hell bent on destroying our health system, the formerly highly esteemed public hospitals are in a deal of trouble, but that is being addressed now. The private ones with their profit motive have always been suspect anyway.

(By the way I have just been invited to join a committee to help implement these changes locally. I'm there as a community member alongside the doctors and other professionals, and respected for my point of view.)

Neither system is perfect and people slip through gaps, but my goodness I cannot imagine the insecurity and horrors of living where I couldn't get help when I needed it.

In the midst of this global recession our Rudd Government (18 months old) has just put up the pension for seniors. They respect us for the contribution we have made.

This government is leaning on the States who actually run the system to fix up their health administrations and are gradually working to provide funding for improvements.

All of this during the global recession when Australia has so far avoided the big 'R' and is recognised as currently the best performing economy in the world.

It might seem a bit twee, but the Australian culture has always been caring of people in need. (Could it be our convict roots? We were also among the first to give votes to women and pioneered much of the union system.)

So far as I am concerned a good egalitarian health system is a matter of priorities. Why should good health depend on our bank balance?

The nation gains greatly when its working people are fit and happy.

America - if your administrators really care, a health system of equality is very much within your reach, even now. Priorities is the word.

We have been watching from afar, and aghast at the way you have done things in the past - perhaps it's time for a change?"

There was a comment from Bernie in Canada that I also found interesting. If we ask her, she might write a blog on Canada's system of healthcare, to debunk the outrageous ads we are seeing about their "terrible" system. Here's her comment:

"Hi June, I live in Canada and we too have government run health care and its wonderful. I am diabetic and had Breast Cancer which included a year of treatment, surgery, chemo and radiation. The medication was very expensive and not once did I receive a bill but always received great care. A nurse came to my home twice a week to flush lines, and check vitals again no bill. I chose my own doctor and have been with him for years. If we can do it in Canada, it can be done anywhere. Its so good to know that all Canadians are covered, no, poor whatever. I did not have a long wait at all for treatment, they will treat a heart attack before a broken leg but that is the way is should be. I do hope US finds a way so that all Americans are covered regardless."

Maybe we can get some others in other countries to describe their healthcare systems, so we can make comparisons.

Lets make ourselves heard.

Stay tuned.


Judy said...

I saw your comment on June's blog in Australia. I am so glad that people in the U.S. are becoming involved in this health care situation. I posted on it a couple days ago and have received comments from several countries and the U.S. It seems to have raised some interest and got some people thinking.

Betty said...

Judy: After reading June's blog, I saw your blog post. I think it's important for people in our country to know how other countries are handling the healthcare situation. Thanks for blogging on the subject.

Tincanman said...

Very interesting. The internet is invaluable for sharing this type of information globally. Blogging seems to be filling the void (at least here in America) left by the Big Corporation 'News' outlets on this subject; many of those news outlets run the talking points of big insurance/big pharma 'fear' against 'government run' healthcare. I saw an interesting post yesterday suggesting the U.S.of A. should just move to a complete Medicare Plan for all citizens, with private plan options, and be done with it. As a military and government retiree, I can tell you that I'm (so far) very pleased with the 'government run' healthcare that I receive. Thank you for keeping after this subject. Maybe (sigh) someday, Congress will get off their backsides and do something useful for the citizens they are supposed to represent.

Darlene said...

Keep it up, Betty. We can't let the greedy guys (Senators, Congesspeople,Big Pharma, and the Insurance industry) win.

I am hanging on by my fingernails and get discouraged at times, but we won't give up, will we Betty?

Kay Dennison said...

Damn right!!!! You go, gal!!!!!!!

Nancy said...


I can't thank you enough for printing the remarks of the residents from Australia and Canada regarding their health care.

I sent both letters to some folks I know who think the status quo in our country is fine. Can you believe that?

The Doctors,Insurance Companies, Big Pharma,and hospitals have all brainwashed these dimwits into thinking our health care is the greatest.

The two letters I sent them from your post may do something to change their thinking. You think?

Anyway,Betty, you gave me some good ammunition. Thanks!

Betty said...

tincanman and darlene: I don't want to rant about this so many times that people start saying, "There she goes again" and move on to something more interesting.

By the way, did you know that the AMA has endorsed the House plan? That bothers me. A lot.

Kay: Thanks.

Nancy: I hope it helps, but people tend to just ignore facts that don't fit their opinions. Maybe your friends are more open-minded. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Well, (sigh), unfortunately ignoring this prob it will not go away. I cannot for the life of me understand why it is so difficult for a country with a czar for this and that cannot GET IT~! There are so very many that cannot get the help they need. Even the unemployed person I know right now, needs a MRI for a problem in the shoulder and pain is mounting daily! NO MONEY, no service! UNREAL in a country as savvy as we could be! You step upon that soap box, anytime you feel like it, Betty, and rant away...I have sent emails to the reps and sen's here, and not EVEN a reply!
Keep up the awareness...

MarmiteToasty said...

People might moan and groan about our NHS here in Jolly Ole Britain, but if truth be told, I think we are dam lucky...... I would LOVE to move to america, but the health policies there scare me....

I cant imagine not just being able to walk into ones doctors surgery and walk out again with a prescription, either free or of little expense..... and great hospital care for free.... we even get free hospital transport to and from appointments if we want them....


Jan Holt said...

YES YES YES!!! You get it exactly. I've lived in Australia and that letter is exactly right. It isn't a perfect system but it is a darn good one AND it is fair and supportive of the people who need it most. Seniors, children, and people with limited means. You go girl!

June Saville said...

I'm so pleased that you posted my story about the Oz health care system. I'm not being critical of the US of A - simply supportive, I hope.
In my book it really is good to look at how the other half lives. If this helps in any way that's great. Judy of Living on the Other Side of the Hill spurred me on.
June in Oz