Monday, 4 September 2006

The Cost of Living

One thing that Jo and I cannot fail to notice lately is the running cost of our (mainly mine) medical bills.
Over the last few weeks we have been receiving bills to pay or invoices for paid bills almost on a daily basis. And while we get a lot of money back from Medicare for all those paid bills, we do not get all of it back. With some we get two thirds back, with some half, with some a third, and with some even none. Take last week's second opinion as an example (albeit a rather extreme one): The doctor's visit cost us $300, and we got $63 back from Medicare. Wow! What would we do without them!
But jokes aside, being sick is an expensive affair. Jo & I can probably afford it, as the two of us are earning more than average and we don't have a family to support. But what about others who are less capable? What about single parents? What about families that don't earn much and have several kids to feed? What about those that are sinking in investment property loans that they cannot really pay back? And what about those out there that represent what we all aspire to be one day - old pensioners that don't really have much of an income anymore?
So yes, some of those have their concession cards. So they don't pay a third of a doctor's appointment out of pocket, they only pay 10%. But still, do it enough times - like you expect to do when you're old - and you'll still burn a hole in your pocket.
Call me old fashioned, but I definitely think that medical bills should be free for all. Or, in the very worst case, require a token fee when you visit a doctor (say - $2). This way you'd achieve equality - both the rich and the poor will enjoy the same service - and this way, the rich and the capable will make sure that the services available are capable enough of serving their needs.
Sure, it would cost us more in taxes. But hey - that's what taxes are for. When it comes to health, my wallet is wide open.
And to those who say "but my pockets are already too wide open and I can't afford to buy myself the new iPod that I just must have and the new shoes I saw in the shop" the answer would be: don't vote for Howard the next time around. Look at where he's spending 10 fucking billions of hard earned tax payers dollars: On expanding the Australian army by a few thousand soldiers. I feel very lucky to have Johnny taking care of me, because when I woke up this morning I really felt scared of all those evil guys knocking on Australia's doors just waiting to invade. Obviously, those few thousands will keep us alive and kicking. Thanks, Johnny - who needs health when we got a strong defense!

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