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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Medical care for the aged = medical don't care in the USA.

Sometimes Miss Eagle thinks that if there was a referendum in Australia on whether Australia should become the 51st state of the United States of America, it would succeed. But if you are an Australian who thinks the USA would be a great place to live with freedom and justice for all, then take a read of this.

Just so there is no mistake in understanding what you are reading:
  • The USA does not have universal medical insurance. Australia does.
  • If you need emergency medical treatment in the USA, you will have to be covered by medical insurance or pay out of your own pocket for medical treatment.
  • Many Americans are covered by medical insurance schemes run by their employers. Not all Americans work for employers who provide medical insurance. These people usually cannot afford the premiums for medical insurance and so they go without.
  • The decision referred to in the link above means that employers will not have to provide coverage to people aged over 65 years of age - even if they have been paying medical insurance for years and years.
  • Australia has the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The USA does not. Many elderly citizens try to smuggle in pharmaceuticals from Canada and other countries where they are cheaper.
  • In the USA, employer run medical schemes have introduced a system where they will dictate from where the people they cover can obtain their pharmaceuticals. No walking into your local chemists or getting on friendly terms with the pharmacist and leaving your repeats there.

John Howard and his Liberal/National Coalition were never able to abolish Medicare, the universal medical insurance scheme for all Australians. John Howard did all sorts of things to all sorts and classes of people in his eleven years in government. Doctors, in the main, vote for the Liberal Party and hate Medicare. Yet Howard did not change the system. Why? Because he and his government knew that Australians support Medicare and would not tolerate its abolition.

To Miss Eagle, this means that Australians can prevent governments from going against their wishes - if they have a mind too. Howard and his Liberal doctors wouldn't and couldn't change Medicare. At least on that score, Australians held their government accountable.

May Australians recognise just what they can do and continue to hold governments of all persuasions accountable and steer clear of slavishly following the USA.

Please Note: The population of the USA is over 300 million people. The above map estimates that 16% of Americans do not have medical insurance. This means that over 48 million people in that nation have no medical insurance. Following the decision in the report linked above, that is about to grow phenomenally as millions more of elderly people are deprived of coverage.