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Rethinking Medicare

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By Ross Walker

Recently the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners started a campaign against the Coalition’s freeze on Medicare rebates and is being supported by the AMA.

Not wishing to get my general practice friends offside because they do an amazing job, but also declaring that I am a member of the AMA, I would like to present my views on the recent issues around Medicare.

Mr Shorten announced during his election launch that this election would be a referendum about Medicare. I was horrified when a recent poll suggested Mr Shorten was superior to Malcolm Turnbull at managing our health system. This is purely because he intends to maintain Medicare in its entirety with all its disastrous consequences for our economy.

One of the major problems in our modern society is the ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude that the vast majority of people have.

This is fuelling some of the main issues in this current, excessively long election campaign. One side (the Conservatives) are trying to make fiscally responsible promises, whilst Bill Shorten is offering all of these completely unaffordable handouts with money that will need to be borrowed, i.e. promising stuff with money we don’t have.

If either party accepted the medical reforms I have suggested previously on my radio show and in the many articles I write for a variety of publications, and in particular Switzer, we would see much greater fiscal savings than the current situation where our Government debt is escalating at an alarming rate.

In my opinion, we should not have a free healthcare system. Medical care should only be free to the lower 20% of earners and those on social welfare and not discounted 15% - which is the current situation for bulk billing. It is reported that 48% of our country is on some form of welfare, but the reality is 100% of people are on welfare, i.e. Medicare.

Medibank and now Medicare was created in 1972 by the Whitlam Government during a time when medical investigations and treatment were not that expensive. But, over the past forty years, newer investigations and medical therapies have become so expensive to be, in many cases, unaffordable for the public purse.

I am not sure why people have this bizarre delusion that it is their God-given right to have their medical care mainly funded by the Government, but are still prepared to pay for other professional services such as law, accountancy, dental work, etc.

The standard of living in our magnificent country is very high, but unfortunately is being maintained on borrowed money, which, at some time in the future, will need to be paid back.

If we allow Mr Shorten and his Labor Party mates back in control, we will (based on his unfunded promises) see our public debt escalate at an even greater rate than we are seeing presently, just like we did when they were last in control. If this happens, we are headed in the same way as Greece.

I would like to see a brave politician (and I haven’t seen this person emerge as yet) in this country being honest with the electorate and say enough is enough.

Australia has to start living within its means and each individual should be funding their own lives, apart from, of course, those people who are socially disadvantaged through no fault of their own.

Until we lose this dependent welfare mentality, our country will continue to plunge into this debt spiral.

Albert Einstein once said, ‘we cannot solve our current problems with the same thinking we used to create them.’ We certainly need a rethink about the way medical services are administered and funded.

Published: Thursday, June 23, 2016


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