By JR on Saturday, May 06, 2017
Was Trump right in praising the Australian healthcare system?
See the report below. Trump took a lot of flak for his remarks but because knowledge of the Australian system is minimal in the USA, the subsequent controversy got a lot wrong. TRUMP WAS RIGHT. Let me say WHY the Australia system is better. Broadly, it is better because the care you get is influenced by how much you put into the system.
At the basic level, a visit to your local doctor, the Federal government picks up most or all of the tab. So everybody has good access to a doctor of their choice.
But when the costs get big -- as in hospitalization -- a different system prevails. Everybody is entitled to free treatment at a government hospital but the care you get there is very poor, with waiting times being very problematical. One man once had to wait 7 years for an eye operation, during which time he could barely see. And even with cancer, which MUST have speedy treatment to give the possibility of recovery, the wait can be long enough to reduce significantly or eliminate survival chances.
And Australians have heard the horror stories and know that you would not wish government medical care on anyone. As a consequence 40% of Australians have private health insurance -- which gives them access to our many world-class private hospitals, where they get prompt and effective care. A few years ago, I went to my favourite private hospital with pain from kidney stones, I was scanned, diagnosed and on the operating table in a matter of hours, and given the latest and greatest treatment for the problem.
So our private hospitals are as good as our public hospitals are bad. And private health insurance in Australia is not forbiddingly expensive. People on quite ordinary incomes can and do afford it. I pay $215 a month for very comprehensive cover and my insurer pays 100% of my private hospital costs. Obviously, many people will have to cut back on other expenditures to afford their subscription but prudent people do just that.
On the other hand, less wise people decide that they will take their chances with the "free" system and spend their money on beer and cigarettes instead.
The upshot? People who contribute to their own health insurance get care as good as can be imagined while those who try to parasitize the taxpayer get shithouse medical care. That seems to me to be entirely fair.
And there is great consensus behind the Australian system.. It has been in place for many years now and neither political party wants to change it: Very different from the USA
A comment by US President Donald Trump about Australia's healthcare system has caused a political firestorm in the US.
Mr Trump, while sitting beside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York before their bilateral meeting on Thursday, praised Australia's healthcare system.
"We have a failing healthcare," Mr Trump said.
"I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do."
Earlier in the day the president and his Republican Party scored a victory in the House of Representatives for repealing Obamacare, although it still has to pass the Senate.
During the Republican campaign to replace Obamacare they railed against government-funded universal heath-care systems like Australia's.
US Democratic Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a supporter of universal healthcare, laughed during a US TV interview when he was told about Mr Trump's Australian comment.
"Thank you Mr Trump for admitting that universal health care is the better way to go," Mr Sanders later tweeted.
"I'll be sure to quote you on the floor of the Senate."
Mr Turnbull also drew criticism after he told Mr Trump in front of reporters: "Congratulations on your vote today".
Labor's shadow minister for health and Medicare Catherine King said the prime minister was praising a bill that will could lead to thousands of Americans losing their healthcare and "will take away the requirement for health insurers to cover people with 'pre-existing conditions' - such as diabetes, autism or cancer," Ms King said in a press release.
"It could also impact survivors of rape or domestic violence."
Later on Friday White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a news briefing that Mr Trump was simply "complimenting a foreign leader on the operations of their healthcare system".
"It didn't mean anything more than that."
Ms Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump's remarks did not mean he thought the US should adopt a similar system to Australia's.
"I think he believes that they have a good healthcare system for Australia," she said. "What works in Australia may not work in the United States."