Monday, April 13, 2009

Why not Explore the Australian model now? Obaman needs to Get Change Now in Health Care—Let’s promote the best-ranked model on the planet!!

Why not Explore the Australian model now? Obaman needs to Get Change Now in Health Care—Let’s promote the best-ranked model on the planet!!!

By Kevin Stoda

I was listening to Democracy Now and I heard Noam Chomsky being interviewed. He stated very clearly, “The US has the most dysfunctional healthcare system in the industrial world, has about twice the per capita costs and some of the worst outcomes. It’s also the only privatized system. And if you look closely, those two things are related. And the privatized system is highly inefficient: a huge amount of administration, bureaucracy, supervision, you know, all kinds of things. It’s been studied pretty carefully. Now, the public has had an opinion about this for decades. A considerable majority want a national healthcare system, like other industrial countries have. They usually say a Canadian-style system, not because Canada is the best, but at least you know that Canada exists. Nobody says an Australian-style system, which is much better, because who knows anything about that?”
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/13/noam_chomsky_on_the_global_economic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Australia

WHAT IS THE AUSTRALIAN MODEL OF GREAT HEALTH CARE?

Chomsky then clarified, “[It is] something like what’s sometimes called Medicare Plus, like extend[ed] Medicare to the population.”
I had talked to Australians when I lived in Asia and again when I studied at Texas A &M University a few years later. Everywhere, these Australians and various health care policy experts agreed that the Australian system—a reformed form of the Canadian Health Care system—was superior to most around the planet.
In 2008 Australian government only spent about 6.6% of its GDP on health care. Another 25% was paid for by the consumers and corporations.
Currently, Americans in and out of the US military (see and) need and use much more than 6% of the military budget spent on health care.
As a whole, the average American who needs health care regularly is an indebted or indentured servant to the system.
Here is a summary of the mixed healthcare system: “The private health system in Australia operates on a ‘community rating’ basis, whereby premiums do not vary solely because of a person's previous medical history, current state of health, or (generally speaking) their age (but see Lifetime Health Cover below). Balancing this are waiting periods, in particular for pre-existing conditions (usually referred to within the industry as PEA, which stands for ‘pre-existing ailment’). Funds are entitled to impose a waiting period of up to 12 months on benefits for any medical condition the signs and symptoms of which existed during the six months ending on the day the person first took out insurance. They are also entitled to impose a 12-month waiting period for benefits for treatment relating to an obstetric condition, and a 2-month waiting period for all other benefits when a person first takes out private insurance.”
The negative side is that “[f]unds have the discretion to reduce or remove such waiting periods in individual cases. They are also free not to impose them to begin with, but this would place such a fund at risk of ‘adverse selection’, attracting a disproportionate number of members from other funds, or from the pool of intending members who might otherwise have joined other funds. It would also attract people with existing medical conditions, who might not otherwise have taken out insurance at all because of the denial of benefits for 12 months due to the PEA Rule. The benefits paid out for these conditions would create pressure on premiums for all the fund's members, causing some to drop their membership, which would lead to further rises, and a vicious cycle would ensue.”
In some ways this is not different than in the USA, but the overall costs are kept low because of the Australian government’s ability to get under control the market among health care and pharmaceutical companies, Australians have great health care for a price that beats the Canadian model substantially.
As a mixed health care system, “[t]he Australian government has introduced a number of incentives to encourage adults to take out private hospital insurance. These include Lifetime Health Cover: If a person has not taken out private hospital cover by the 1st July after their 30th birthday, then when (and if) they do so after this time, their premiums must include a loading of 2% per annum. Thus, a person taking out private cover for the first time at age 40 will pay a 20 per cent loading. The loading continues for 10 years. The loading applies only to premiums for hospital cover, not to ancillary (extras) cover. “
“Medicare Levy Surcharge: People whose taxable income is greater than a specified amount (currently $70,000 for singles and $140,000 for couples) and who do not have an adequate level of private hospital cover must pay a 1% surcharge on top of the standard 1.5% Medicare Levy. The rationale is that if the people in this income group are forced to pay more money one way or another, most would choose to purchase hospital insurance with it, with the possibility of a benefit in the event that they need private hospital treatment - rather than pay it in the form of extra tax as well as having to meet their own private hospital costs.”
Finally, “The Australian government announced in May 2008 that it proposes to increase the thresholds, to $100,000 for singles and $150,000 for families. These changes require legislative approval. A bill to change the law has been introduced but was not passed by the Senate. A changed version was passed on 16 October 2008. There have been criticisms that the changes will cause many people to drop their private health insurance, causing a further burden on the public hospital system, and a rise in premiums for those who stay with the private system. Other commentators believe the effect will be minimal.
In addition, it should be said that private health care insurance rebates to clients are subsidized by the Australian government.

SUMMARY OF THE AUSTRALIAN OPTION
Most of the information above on the Australian Health Care system above either come from Wikipedia or from World Health Organization.
http://www.who.int/whosis/data/Search.jsp
I’d like to see the mixed model of healthcare used in Australia, Germany and elsewhere to be considered in the USA. Let’s do the research and debate this right away—and ask Obama: WHERE IS THE HEALTH CARE NOW???????
Meanwhile, for those who are interested in perusing other websites concerning how the Australian Health Care model functions, see:

ACHIEVING EQUITY -- http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/179_09_031103/lee100203_fm.pdf
AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL ON HEALTH CARE STANDARDS -- http://www.achs.org.au/
AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT ON HEALTH AND AGING -- http://www.health.gov.au/
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT-- http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/healthcare.html
AUSTRALIA HEALTH -- http://www.austhealth.com/
CAPITALIST SOCIALISM: IS IT GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH? http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/citation/53/4/195
COMMUNITARIAN CLAIMS -- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBF-3WBWYBH-6&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=769aa0a46212052d2b07cd6cc1b7f389

CONCERNS ON ABORIGINAL CARE -- http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/23976/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
DISEMMINATING INFORMATION ON INNOVATION -- http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/289/15/1969
THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS -- http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/314/7093/1495
HEALTH CARE IN AUSTRALIA -- http://www.expatforum.com/articles/health/health-care-in-australia.html
HEALTH CARE REFORM IN AUSTRALIA -- http://www.healthreform.org.au/
INTEGRATED MEDICINE -- http://www.holistichealthtopics.com/HMG/new.html
INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON ON RURAL HEALTH CARE -- http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/aujr/abstract.00075406-200204000-00006.htm;jsessionid=JjdDC8GShLk9LT76k4MwvG96k65cxVZsM3vT9x553f9g2kpQNhbK!1553038018!181195628!8091!-1
MAXIMIZING HEALTH BENEFITIS VERSUS EGALITARIANISM -- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBF-3YS8D3J-W&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=57a82ab7054b40bd678ef2d94b6e492f
MEDICARE AUSTRALIA -- http://www.medicare.gov.au/
MED HUNTERS--http://www.medhunters.com/articles/healthcareInAustralia.html
MENTAL HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE -- http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/anzj/abstract.00000929-200112000-00012.htm;jsessionid=JjcNwhPB58z2FJzz1lvWLB4GQ2XDBLnbLgjl9jxgwtj5Dfx1W8hJ!1553038018!181195628!8091!-1
REFORM OF HEALTH CARE IN AUSTRALIA -- http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/177_06_160902/rei10464_fm.html
OPINION -- http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4248
SAFETY AND QUALITY IN GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE -- http://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/
SELECTING THE BEST PRIVATE HEALTH CARE IN AUSTRALIA -- http://www.disabled-world.com/medical/healthcare/australia-medicare/health-insurance-australia.php
WORLD’S BEST ORGAN TRANSPLANT CARE AND DONATION http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/organ-donation-nctf-report.htm
YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE -- http://jhppl.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/30/4/764

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