Sunday, May 07, 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."


Christians feel under siege for expressing opposition to same-sex marriage

A Melbourne IT specialist engaged to work on the Safe Schools program was sacked after privately expressing concerns about the contentious initiative during a staff meeting, with his employer later accusing him of “creating an unsafe work environment”.

Lee Jones, a Christian who was general manager of a business at the time, had told his boss he would work on the project despite his views but was dismissed regardless, according to a submission to a federal inquiry into the status of religious freedom.

His predicament is just one of several cases of discrimination ­alleged by Christians or opponents of same-sex marriage that have come to light as part of the inquiry, which, in the wake of the Coopers Brewery fiasco, has heightened concerns about free speech and a growing intolerance towards traditional views.

Other cases include a Victoria-based commonwealth pub­lic servant who was given a warning for complaining about being pressured to take part in a gay pride march.

The man, who was also a Christian, later asked to be taken off the email list of the department’s LGBTI network as he found emails “offensive by reason of his religious background”.

According to the submission of the Wilberforce Foundation, which is a coalition of lawyers committed to common law ­values, rights and freedoms, the public servant was issued a notice to show cause why he should not be disciplined.  That was challenged and there was a finding that there had been no breach of the APS Code of Conduct.

The foundation also cites Alice Springs teacher Ian Shepherd, who was threatened with disciplinary action last year for expressing opposition to same-sex marriage on a Facebook forum.  Despite the comments being made outside school hours, he was issued a notice to show cause. The Northern Territory Education Department has since dropped the action.

Meanwhile, an Adelaide ­university student was suspended last year after offering to pray for a student who was stressed over her workload and later voicing his opinion about homosexuality.

The student had said that he would treat a gay person kindly “but (didn’t) agree with their choice”.  He was ordered to undergo “re-education” but sought legal advice and the university withdrew the allegations.

Human Rights Law Alliance managing director Martyn Iles, who was involved with some of the cases, said they were evidence of the “purging of certain ideas in public discourse”.

Mr Iles said people with traditional views on same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program were not being permitted to express them publicly.

In Mr Jones’s case, he was in a staff meeting when asked his opinion about Safe Schools, which had been generating significant media due to its promotion of contested ideas around gender fluidity and sexuality.

His response was that he would not want his own children to be taught some of the more controversial elements of the program. No representatives from Safe Schools were at the meeting.

Mr Jones did not want to discuss details of his situation.  However, he said his sacking — “a brutal over-reaction” — had opened his eyes to attempts to censor those opposed to “rewriting the law and morality”.


The fantasy of ‘Gonski funding’ set to continue

As Yogi Berra said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” While we’re still recovering from the nightmare of Gonski 1.0, the government has unleashed Gonski 2.0.

The government’s announcement this week involved three main things: billions more taxpayer dollars for schools over the next decade, an announcement of another Gonski Review into how school funding is spent, and a decision to cut funding to 24 ‘overfunded’ non-government schools.

All three are a distraction from the real problems with the current school funding model.

When the Gonski 1.0 school funding model was released in 2012, it was hailed as a ground-breaking blueprint to shape the future of education (if it was so good, why is Gonski 2.0 allegedly necessary?).

But Gonski’s model turned out to be almost impossible to implement.

The model involved a base level of funding per student and extra funding for disadvantaged students. Disastrously, following the Gillard government’s negotiations with the states and non-government schools, the criteria for disadvantage was expanded so much that the majority of Australian students are now considered ‘disadvantaged’ and attract extra money. So much for ‘needs-based funding’.

This funding model is clearly not financially viable in the long-term. Consider 2017 school funding levels: government schools in almost every state and territory will receive thousands of dollars per student above the base level but are considerably ‘underfunded’ according to the model. This ‘underfunding’ is due to the unjustifiably high benchmark caused by the expanded loadings –not because a few independent schools are ‘overfunded’ as some would have you believe.

It would be a fantasy to pursue this funding benchmark for every school in Australia. The government should have grasped the opportunity this week to remove the ‘Gonski funding’ albatross from their necks.

Everyone is concerned about disadvantaged students and wants a school funding model that effectively caters for disadvantage, but the inescapable conclusion is that ‘Gonski funding’ does no such thing and is an irredeemable mess.


Smart parents favour quality education over fancy buildings

With student numbers swelling in city public schools — partly because of population growth and partly because of a slowdown in the drift to non-government schools — the NSW and Victorian state governments have plans to build a bunch of new schools. Sensibly, they have realised that urban land availability does not allow the traditional sprawl of buildings and playgrounds, so the new city schools will be high rises.

Media reports in Sydney and Melbourne show the schools to be at the fancy end of the architectural scale. They’ll no doubt be equipped with all of the latest — soon to be outdated — technology and will have ‘learning spaces’ instead of classrooms, ‘information resource centres’ (RIP libraries), and cafés … vale, the humble tuckshop.

Contrast this with Chatswood Public School in Sydney. Due to its outstanding reputation for academic quality, its student numbers have almost doubled in the past 10 years. It is so over capacity that demountable classrooms have been placed in the car park and on the oval of the high school across the road to meet demand.

There is a high premium on house and rental prices in the enrolment zone. Parents are willing to bypass a nearby under-capacity school and pay a real estate premium to have their child educated in a demountable classroom in a crowded school. They do this because they believe the teaching and learning is first rate, and this outstrips all other factors. While Chatswood is perhaps the best known example of this phenomenon, it is far from the only one.

To be clear: students and teachers in public schools should have comfortable, high quality facilities that are fit for purpose. But in their eagerness to provide this, state governments should not lose sight of the fact that whizz-bang buildings are not necessarily the highest priority for parents. Astute parents know that there is no substitute for a great teacher and a strong curriculum — whether it’s in a demountable classroom or a multi-billion dollar learning space. Governments need to make sure their priorities are just as sound.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

PB said...

"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."

And thus is the circle closed.