26 Jun 2016

“Never, ever, privatise Medicare” The Coalition's aim has always been to privatise Medicare, They've been trying for years.

An article by John Laurence Menadue AO

MALCOLM TURNBULL says that the Coalition will “never, ever, privatise Medicare”. Given the wide public support for Medicare and Malcolm Turnbull’s way with words his attempted rebuttal is not surprising.
But the Coalition has been eroding Medicare from within for a decade and a half since John Howard. The vehicle for this erosion is private health insurance (PHI) and the government is facilitating this process with the $11 billion p.a. taxpayer funded subsidy to support private health insurance.
And the ALP does not seem to care. It scarcely ever mentions the damage of PHI. Is it scared of this vested interest? 
If people want PHI, that is their right, but it should not be at the expense of others and in the process, erode Medicare.
The erosion of Medicare is proceeding rapidly which I will outline below. The danger and the threat increases every year. Steadily we are moving down the disastrous U.S. path of private health insurance with its horrific costs and unfairness. Warren Buffet has described private health insurance in the U.S. as the ‘tapeworm in the US health system’.
The Coalition‘s undermining of Medicare through PHI is insidious. It occurs in many ways. Medicare is becoming less and less a quality system available to all, regardless of income.The $11 billion subsidy for PHI undermines Medicare’s principles of a single funder, universality and solidarity. The PHI subsidy goes overwhelmingly to people on higher incomes. The key and founding principle of Medicare was that quality care should be available on the basis of need and not income. The $11 billion p.a. subsidy to PHI is a violation of that principle. It enables the wealthy to jump the hospital queue regardless of need.

John Laurence Menadue AO (born 8 February 1935) is an Australian businessman and public commentator, and formerly a senior public servant and diplomat. He is the founding chair and board member of the Centre for Policy Development.

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