February 17, 2009

Audacious or outrageous?

Perhaps a taste of Kev Rudd's personally coined oxymoron, "social capitalism" comes a pile of inequitable, bloated funding proposals for the health and dental needs of the nation.

The least expensive would see the Medicare level increased by 0.75% and the inclusion of dental services for all. One could go private or public with the dental scheme, with 85% of the private fee paid by the government scheme.

The report assesses that one third of Australians are going without dental care, and of those 50% need dental work of some kind.

So, the proposal entails a new tax on 100% of working Australians, to ensure that the dental needs of one sixth of the population are met in a more timely manner than at present.

Can we all remember what happens to childcare costs every time the government increases childcare rebates?

Can we all recall the big gap, the out of pocket cost, after the last visit to the GP, with Medicare covering only 80% of the "scheduled fee", as opposed to the fee paid?

Shall we take a shot in the dark what will happen to dental costs under a scheme covering every single Australian, not just those in need? Bearing in mind that a visit to the dentist is already a very expensive treat.

Another proposal entails the federal government taking over everything under the sun - hospitals, nursing homes, dental - all "social" wellbeing services and hitting us up for an extra 14% tax - "social insurance". Ooooh, don't you lurve the name? We'd almost feel like we were living in Cuba! Whoo hoo!

"The plans would be funded by a new healthcare levy set as high as 14 per cent of taxable income to cover all current government health costs. Existing government expenditure on health already equates to 14 per cent of taxable income, but the money comes from general revenue.

The Medicare levy pays for a only fraction of the health costs borne by government."

Err, that would be the "general revenue" made up of the "general taxes" already being collected from us, right?

That would be the health costs borne by, paid by us, right?

But excluding the additional out of pocket costs that we pay directly, right?

Arrhh huh.

A final report from the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission is expected mid-year, when the Rudd government will start mulling over whether or not to put a referendum to the people on the federal government taking hospitals out of the hands of state governments.

As much as the multiple layers of government deliver health services in a less than sterling manner, I'm swooning - in a bad way - at the idea of the Fed's taking over.

Federal report suggests new social insurance scheme

Tax hike to fund dental care plan

Dental scheme targets the poor

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