Daily prompt: Mostly off topic


Here’s a little story that has nothing to do with catapults unless you stretch it to cover catapulting the US into Healthcare Norms for Developed Countries in the 21st Century.

Australia does have private health cover, but it’s a choice. If you want, you can pay your monthly premiums to be treated as a private patient. This means insurance for stays in private hospitals, faster access for elective surgery, a larger rebate on visits to the GP etc. (although the last doesn’t always apply: as a pensioner, I don’t necessarily pay for GP visits anyway, they’re what’s called ‘bulk billed’, and I have just had a flu shot and a shingles shot for nothing).

My sister doesn’t have private health cover. She is also on the age pension – which I should point out doesn’t mean we are both on the breadline, but explaining the Australian pension system is irrelevant here.

She has just had major abdominal surgery performed by the surgeon of her choice who may have been assisted by trainee surgeons as she’s a public patient in a teaching hospital, but that certainly made no difference to the outcome.

She is now in a 4-bed ward where a private patient would probably have a private room, but other than that, her post-operative care is no different. She is monitored and assessed with kindness, concern and absolute diligence. The surgeon visits daily, as does the physio. Yesterday she needed a quick scan of her stomach, and it was duly performed. Any medication she needs will be provided.

I’m sure the thing that automatically springs to mind here is that it’s easier for us given our population is so much smaller. The ‘population’ part is true, the ‘easier’ – not so much.

Australia is a big country – roughly the same size as the contiguous states of US – requiring a big infrastructure: roads, railways, public transport, access to water and electricity etc, quite apart from healthcare and education. It’s population, on the other hand, is less than the population of California. Result? Far, far fewer taxpayers coughing up the dollars to pay for it. So no, not so easy after all.

No system is perfect, and the Australian healthcare system is no exception. Sometimes it lets people down. But at least it’s there, and for the most part, it does its job well.

I suppose the conclusion here is that it’s all a matter of priorities. It all depends on how you choose to spend the money you have.


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13 Responses to Daily prompt: Mostly off topic

  1. Definitely a matter of priorities… I’m trying not to be angry because life is short (mine anyway) and there are other things to do, but…

    • I think you have to be angry. Not you personally (know what you mean about the years left being short) but I sometimes sense in Americans a terrible resignation – an acceptance of powerlessness in the face of big money. Perhaps that’s the good that will come out of the awfulness of Trump – a grass-roots resistance movement.

      • Not acceptance. Americans ADMIRE it. We are cultural Calvinists. I think the underlying philosophy of the United States is that people are wealthy because they are chosen by God. It’s the Doctrine of the Elect, that justifies greed and contempt for the poor. I think that’s what is meant by “Christianity” as used by the Right.

      • I didn’t realise that. I thought ‘Christian’ was a costume donned by the greedy rich to confer an air of sanctimony while they ripped people off. (Whoops! My cynicism again.) Although I did wonder when I heard Newt Gingrich claim that the right to bear arms was god-given whether he thought the Constitution came down like the tablets of Moses. Felt a bit left out, actually. How come god gave the US a constitution and the rest of us had to muddle along with man-made ones?

  2. Aunt Beulah says:

    I am worried about my country. Who knows what will happen with health care, and the current administration has proposed a budget that guts many social programs that help those who need a helping hand the most in our society, including children. We are turning into a country I don’t recognize.

  3. Noah Weiss says:

    I think the idea of Australia or most other developed countries are things that the US needs to catapult into.

    Unfortunately, I think that the battling between the hyper-liberals and the hyper-conservatives could produce another civil war in the States…

  4. I can’t begin to tell you how much I envy your health care. Beyond words.

  5. lwbut says:

    As in many cases it seems, i am in full and complete agreement here having had a full kidney transplant and preceding kidney failure dialysis treatment over the last 6 years without paying a cent (other than self chosen donations) for it. The care of the doctors and such nurses as were available (budget cuts meant 2 nurses looked after 48 patients on the late night shift!) was second to none. My surgeon was one of the best in the state. I even got a private room for the transplant as i needed to be kept as far as possible from infection sources (patients!).

    Our health system has to be amongst the very best anywhere – but we do also have the benefit of one of the worlds best climates and liveable cities so the system is perhaps not quite as ‘stretched’ as it might be in less livable countries. 😉

    I think Martha above also got it spot on about the US and Christianity. Americans certainly do seem to admire success and wealth – even in those who used what we would call ‘suss’ methods to achieve it. Personally – from the message Christ gave to all of us – i just can’t see why this is??? Truly baffling to me.


    • I think often of camels passing through the eyes of needles, so I find it hard to reconcile the wealthy American far right with what I was taught about Christianity. But I also realise that you can find bible quotes to justify almost anything if you try hard enough, so I try to keep my mouth shut.

      • lwbut says:

        Agreed again – but most bible quotations are not used in the context of which they were intended in Scripture. Christ tried to make it very clear that a lot of the Chosen People of God were not following God’s principles but their own fallible understandings of the human written word (law) His overriding law was one of Love for God above all else.

        But now i’m sounding like i’m proselytising – God forbid ! 😉


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