Friday, September 27, 2019

Sarah Nix has been left more than $30,000 out of pocket because of ongoing surgeries despite spending $5000 a year on private health insurance

The situation of the poor woman grieves me but she is placing the blame in the wrong quarter.  If private insurance were to cover ALL medical costs, the premiums would be unaffordable. Basically, private health insurance covers HOSPITAL costs only.  It does not pay for the doctors and others who operate there.  So you have to pay them yourself. 

And if it is only one adverse medical episode you have, most people will be able to do that.  In cases like Ms Nix, however, who needs multiple surgeries, that can easily become impossible.  Private health insurance is not for people in her situation.  It is the public system that she has to turn to.  Only the public system covers BOTH hospital and doctor costs.

So it is the public system that Ms Nix should be condemning.  And their services do leave much to be desired.  The care you get in public hospitals is not much  worse than what you get from private doctors and may be as good.  As Ms Nix points out, the big problem with the public system is the WAIT you have to undergo before you get in front of a doctor or surgeon.  And that wait can be very distressing.

So what is the solution?  Unless someone invents a money tree, there is only one solution:  Public hospital services have to be rationed in some way.  Self-inflicted injuries and illnesses in particular should not be treated: Damaged joints caused by obesity and lung cancer caused by smoking for instance.  People suffering from such illnesses could probably take out special insurance for their needs.  But people who are ill through no fault of their own should always be at the front of the queue.

That is unlikely to happen -- though something like that does often happen informally.  So we have to go back to money.  A small charge could be levied every time a person attends a public hospital -- a charge equal to the price of a packet of cigarettes, for instance.  Such an idea was discussed in Tony Abbot's time but was abandoned as poltical poison.  So we are probably stuck with distressing waiting lists.

A compromise that is already used for cancer patients is to give them special priority but even that can be a dangerous delay.  It might help a little, however for similar priority to be given to people in need of multiple surgeries, such as Ms Nix

Sarah Nix has run out of money and is now being forced to make a life-altering decision.

The 26-year-old from Brisbane and her husband Matthew can no longer keep affording to fork out thousands of dollars for her endometriosis surgeries on top of the $5000 a year they already pay for their private health insurance.

Mrs Nix was diagnosed with the debilitating condition that causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow outside it two years ago. Her pain is so horrendous she hasn’t been able to drive or work for the past 18 months.

But on top of the horrific pain, Mrs Nix has the added burden of ongoing medical bills.

And she’s not the only one — tonight’s episode of Insight on SBS highlights how patients are paying high out-of-pocket fees for specialists and surgeries, from people who have had cancer to those with disc problems.

When Mrs Nix tallied up her costs, she was actually worse off than some of the cancer patients. “I’ve had five surgeries in total but it just keeps coming back,” she told “I can’t get rid of it.”

She estimates the surgeries plus everything else have put her out of pocket more than $30,000, with lost wages of $14,000 on top of that.

The couple had to get rid of their car and have set up a GoFundMe page to try to recuperate some of the costs.

“We have top hospital and top extras but they only cover my bed stays,” she said. “Private health is really misleading. “I always thought I was covered, but no.”

But Mrs Nix said she couldn’t afford not to have insurance, with waiting times in the public system too long. She’s had to wait more than three hours for pain relief presenting to a public emergency department compared with five minutes in the private system. “I wouldn’t get that in the public system so I can’t afford not to,” she said.

“But at the same time I can’t afford to keep it because it doesn’t cover anything.

“The public system isn’t good enough — it’s a 12-month wait for surgery and to see a specialist is a few months.”

Mrs Nix said on one occasion she was in so much pain her doctor made a decision to perform surgery on the spot, a luxury she wouldn’t get in the public system.

Now Mrs Nix is being forced to make the harrowing decision of having a hysterectomy when the couple were planning on having children.

“We just can’t keep affording to pay for surgeries, so my husband and I have made the decision if by the end of the year I’m still in pain that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

“It sounds like a hard decision as a young woman, but you know when you are in so much pain that you just want to end it, no matter how you do it? Financially, we just can’t continue this way. We’ve got nothing left.”

That surgery will also cost between $2000 and $6000.

“A lot of people are calling on the Government to change it (private health insurance), but I’m calling on private health insurance companies to change,” she said.

“I remember when I was a kid private health used to cover everything, whereas now it covers nothing. If they fix that our public system would probably be better off because more people would take out private health.”



As most people reading this will be aware, you can get a range of cover for "extras" with private hostpital insurance. And for services that are not too dear and not too often called upon that can be worthwhile. The cover is for such things as spectacles and hearing aids and dental costs up to a limit.  A small contribution to some "in hospital" costs can also be available.

I have maximum ("top") cover so my experience might help others to get a grip on what is available.  The premiums I pay to my fund (CUA) are higher than most but they are unusually generous with hearing aids.  My last lot cost nearly $4,000 and they paid nearly half of that.  I rarely have dentistry and what I have is simple so last time they paid all my costs.  There was also a substantial benefit for new spectacles.

But the most interesting case is what it cost me for my recent big cancer surgery. I was on the table in Brisbane Private Hospital within a week of the cancer being detected. I was in intensive care for a couple of days afterwards so that would have generated an enormous bill from the hospital which my fund paid in full.

The surgeon and her assistant sent me a bill totalling over $5,000, of which Medicare paid $1500 and my fund paid nearly $500.  So I was around $3,000 out of pocket.  In my younger days however I lived frugally and was able to put aside substantial funds to cover "a rainy day" -- so $3,000 was no problem.  Savings are the true health insurance.  It's towards the end of your life that you incur most of your life's medical bills. Proverbs 6:6-8 refers.

Hundreds of doctors call for an urgent inquiry into risky treatment of children who believe they are transgender - as website of man who led the petition is sabotaged

More than 200 doctors have called for an urgent inquiry into the risky medical treatment of children who believed they were transgender.

John Whitehall, a professor of paediatrics at Western Sydney University, is taking a stand against minors being prescribed puberty blocker hormones as a precursor to getting a sex change in adulthood.

His petition to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria, received 131 signatures on its first day earlier this week.

That number grew to 200 within three days, with doctors concerned about children as young as nine being rendered infertile as a result of taking the controversial medication.

Their Word Press site, however, has been sabotaged with hackers preventing it from accepting new signatures.

'The site has been subject to an attack, subsequent to it being publicised in the media, and the signatory page is suspended until we can work out how to prevent this,' it said on Wednesday. 'Apologies – watch this space for developments.'

Professor Whitehall also wants the inquiry to determine if puberty blockers had the potential to cause 'the irreversible loss' of fertility.

'I write to thank you for your concern about the rapidly increasing number of Australian children reported to be suffering from gender dysphoria and to express my concern at the lack of a scientific basis for the medical pathway of treatment of childhood gender dysphoria,' he said in his letter.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, his Word Press website was sabotaged.

Transgender activists and the ABC's Media Watch program have been critical of Professor Whitehall, even though he has a medical career spanning 50 years.

Puberty blockers are a relatively new treatment but there is evidence they can affect fertility, with Professor Whitehall concerned at children as young as nine getting the medication.

He is leading the charge against the sharp rise in the number of children being prescribed these puberty blockers.

In his letter to Mr Hunt, he referred to evidence from Dr Robert Kosky, a former director of psychiatric services at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and the state director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services.

He noted that between 1979 and 1984, only eight gender-confused children sought help.

Now, two to three children were being presented to the Perth children's hospital every week.

'I respectfully propose that a parliamentary inquiry would be the best forum for the proper consideration of a social phenomenon that has emerged with such speed and caused such consternation,' Professor Whitehall said in his letter.

'It seems that public policy and medical "best practice" is being declared in haste without a sufficient foundation of fact and reflection, and a formal parliamentary inquiry could provide that foundation.'

The spokesman for the doctors' letter, Rob Pollnitz, a retired paediatrician with 50 years' experience, said he believed gender confusion in children and adolescents was chiefly a psychological issue, not biological.

'Before we give them unproven treatments with hormones and surgery, we ought to do our very best to sort out their psychological issues,' he said.

World-renowned child and adolescent psychiatrist Christopher Gillberg said the unproven treatment of gender-confused children was 'possibly one of the greatest scandal¬s in medical history'.

Last month Carlotta, Australia's first transgender woman to star in a TV drama show, spoke out against teenagers being prescribed puberty blockers.

The 76-year-old cabaret singer, also known as Carol Spencer, told the Studio 10 program she was 'strongly against' doctors approving hormone treatment for children before they had a true grasp of who they were.

The former television actress, who had a sex change in 1971, said children 'should not be put on treatments' until they have 'matured and are of age'.

Kirralie Smith, the director of the grassroots Binary group concerned about the de-gendering of society, said doctors needed to be allowed to speak frankly about puberty blockers.

'We need these doctors to be able to do the research, do the studies without being labelled or threatened in any way as bigots or bullies,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'This enquiry needs to go ahead so that doctors can have the unhindered ability to look at the research without activists trying to shut them down.' 


'She should be getting treatment': Leading Australian psychologist says he's worried about the mental well-being of 'entitled' autistic climate change poster girl Greta Thunberg

A leading psychologist has voiced his concern about the mental well-being of autistic teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Greta made international headlines last week after inspiring millions of people across 150 countries to take to the streets for the Global Strike 4 Climate on Friday.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden then made a passionate speech berating world leaders for climate inaction at the UN summit in New York on Tuesday.

But as the teenager continues to divide opinion for her opinions on climate change, one of Australia's most-high profile psychologists has accused the girl of being an 'entitled political pawn' in need of treatment.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg compared Greta's position in the spotlight to the fame of a child TV star who could 'burn out' after being thrust into the spotlight.

'I worry about her going the same as child TV stars, that they just burn out and potentially have a disastrous psychological outcome,' he told 3AW on Wednesday.

'Can I make it clear, I am not a climate change denier. I actually think that we do need to do more about saving the planet.'

Dr Carr-Gregg said he was wary of Greta's Asperger's and history of mental health in his analysis of the teenager, who he believes has a 'sense of entitlement'.

'I am worried that we use a kid like this, who arguably should be getting treatment because she's said she's had anorexia, said she's got Asperger's and said she's battled depression,' he said.

'As a parent, if this was my child, I'm not sure I'd be putting them on the world stage.'

Dr Carr-Gregg said he was worried about Greta's future, her current psychological health and how it would impact other young people.

'It sends a message to other teenagers that they can speak to adults in this very, very dismissive way',' he said.

'She seems to be caught up in a doomsday scenario where she's massively exaggerating the threats posed by climate change and that has a flow-on effect because it causes all this existential anxiety in our children, hence the climate strikes,' he said.

He said kids should be in school but are instead rallying because 'they've been convinced the end of the world is nigh'.

'She's now put herself at the centre of worldwide either Greta-phobia or Greta-mania and I don't think any 16-year-old girl should be,' he said.

Dr Carr-Gregg mentioned the 'Twitter war' between Greta and Donald Trump where the president appeared to mock the teenager.

'She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!,' Mr Trump tweeted following Greta's impassioned speech.

The climate activist swiftly responded by changing her Twitter bio to 'A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.'

In her explosive speech, Greta said: 'We are in a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!'

The teenager first rose to fame a year ago when she held a one-person climate strike out the front of Swedish parliament.

The School Strike for Climate protests quickly rose to success, with millions of people across the world rallying for action during the most recent demonstrations on Friday.

Dr Carr-Gregg said he didn't think children should be used as 'political props'.


How can using the ‘wrong tone’ end Israel Folau’s career?

The case has just come to court.  At issue is whether you can be fired over repeating Bible teachings on homosexuality

“Rugby Australia’s objection to the posts at issue was not their religious content but rather their tone and attributes.”

Did RA boss Raelene Castle watch The Castle and rework Dennis Denuto’s “vibe of the thing” into the “tone of the thing?” If RA’s killer point, outlined in its defence filed on Friday, is enough to allow them to sack Israel Folau, then we are all in trouble. If the wrong tone in an employee’s social media post, rather than the substance of that post, is enough to end a career, what’s next?

RA has made a number of assertions in its defence filed in the Federal Circuit Court last Friday afternoon, and served on Folau’s legal team the same day. To avoid the accusation that they sacked a man for his religious beliefs, RA’s defence is that they sacked Folau because of the tone of his posts. This is how RA plans to fend off claims by Folau that his termination was unlawful for breaching section 772 of the Fair Work Act which makes it illegal to terminate a person’s employment for reason of, or for reasons that include, his religion. RA also claims that Folau knew his social media posts in April last year, and again in April this year, were offensive to some people, and that Folau freely contracted to curb his social media usage, and that he conceded breaching his contract during a code of conduct tribunal hearing earlier this year.

RA’s core defence about the tone of Folau’s posts is nothing short of extraordinary. Who gets to determine what is an unacceptable “tone”? If RA does not object to the religious content of Folau’s posts, that must mean that Folau is entitled to say homosexuals will go to Hell, but only if he says it nicely. It means that RA accepts there could have been a way for the rugby champion to express the same sentiment, and not get sacked. What formula of words would RA have found acceptable?

RA boss Raelene Castle claims that she told Folau he had “hurt and offended some people with his comment” in April last year that homosexuals would go to Hell, and that he needed to be “considered and respectful” in his social media posts. Folau, a Christian, believes that his religion is both considered and respectful. Folau, an evangelical Christian, also believes that his calling is to evangelise his beliefs in his own personal time.

Two core issues — control and consequences — sit at the heart of RA’s defence. First, RA claims the legal right to control how Folau expresses his religious faith away from the workplace. Second, RA claims the right to impose the most severe consequences on Folau for failing to meet their demands.

This case will decide how much control an employer can or should have over an employee’s life away from his or her job. Sporting bodies have long claimed control over how a rugby player behaves off the sporting field, for example requiring that they should not break the law by taking drugs or engage in violent behaviour because this brings the game into disrepute.

RA’s defence is that its legal authority reaches into new territory, claiming a legal right to control how a rugby player may or not paraphrase the Bible. Contrary to some claims, RA cannot point to a specific clause in Folau’s contract aimed to control his social media usage. There is only a generic clause in a code of conduct (although, to be clear, that code is incorporated into his contract). Given the high stakes, and in fairness to Folau, shouldn’t RA have given precise explicit instructions to Folau about his social media usage before they used a generic clause in a generic code of conduct to sack him?

If the court decides that RA was entitled to sack Folau using an entirely subjective measure about “tone,” it will arm employers with tremendous power drawn from generic and widely worded codes of conduct to legally control the tone of an employee’s posts about their religious beliefs on private social media platforms.

Worse, it will mean that employees can be sacked at will by an employer for entirely subjective, highly contestable “tone” offences about which Folau was given no clear definition or direction during his many conversations with RA.

This leads to the second issue thrown into stark relief by RA’s defence filing. This dispute goes far beyond people disagreeing with Folau’s religious beliefs, or condemning his views, or choosing to take offence over his social media posts. It presumes that enormous consequences can legally flow from people taking offence from a few social media posts about biblical teachings. In employment law, there is nothing more enormous than bringing a person’s career to an end.

RA has hung much of its defence on the decision of the tribunal earlier this year that the “termination of [Folau’s] Player Contract was the only clear practical way for Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW to distance themselves from the views of Mr Folau’s in order not to be seen to be condoning those views, and to protect themselves from further damage.”

Folau’s legal team will surely challenge this in its response which must be filed by October 4. Coupled with a clear public condemnation of Folau’s social media posts, RA could have suspended Folau. RA could have said the sporting body vehemently disagrees with Folau, that his views are offensive to some, but that posting his religious beliefs on private social media platforms has no bearing on the game of rugby. There were plenty of other options. RA might have been more strategic, understanding that by taking the nuclear option, they turned Folau into a celebrity martyr and caused damage to the game, and RA’s reputation.

RA has gone to great lengths in its defence to say that its termination rests on Folau’s concession at the tribunal hearing that he breached the code of conduct. It is true that Folau made concessions at the hearing — to try to mitigate the damage and lessen any penalty — rather than to hand RA the justification to sack him. Folau seems to have put little faith in the Tribunal hearing. Indeed, his legal team must have been concerned that RA had a self-serving agenda in nominating Kate Eastman SC to the three-person code-of-conduct panel which ruled on Folau, given Eastman’s long history of pushing for new “rights” against discrimination in the workplace and in the law.

RA also claims that fundamental principles of freedom of contract mean that Folau knowingly agreed to restrict his social media usage. Expect Folau’s team to point out that the entire industrial relations system, including the Fair Work Act, is premised on limiting what can and cannot be agreed between parties of unequal bargaining power. And that Section 772 cannot be contracted out of.

The central question remains whether Folau was sacked because of, or for reasons that included, his religion. On this point, RA bears the onus of proving that the “tone” of the thing was enough to warrant terminating Folau’s contract. Dennis Denuto, eat your heart out.


 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:

Paul said...

Here in the North, we have exceeded capacity under normal arrangements for People needing to commence maintenance dialysis. Probably 95% indigenous. Three per week coming on, maybe one a month stopping treatment for whatever reason (if that). We are good at this, and this is the consequence of our "success", but try rationing that. It's still being treated as an internal issue.