The Wild West ... the outback ... The new world of the 1800s was a time of true liberty. People stood on their own merits. They won or they lost and they reaped the rewards or swallowed the consequences. There were no cubicle dwelling civil servants hell bent on saving you from yourself. No planning permits no licenses no permissions no heritage overlay no bylaw no regulators no inspectors. And guess what ... it worked

This site is set up to provide a forum for a number of like minded professional economists to post and comment on contemporary issues. There are a number of regular contributors whose bios are made available on the site. Most if not all of these contributors use a pseudonym for the simple reason that they are practicing economists who must take into consideration the commercial implications of posting their opinions.

While some may feel that this is a bit of a gutless approach it is the only way we can ensure free and open discussion without jeopardising our paycheques.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2020 Summary of Health Stream (Doc Holliday)

2020 The health stream summary

An excerpt from the book that never was, “Carpet Baggers, Nutjobs and Happy Clappers.”

Australians are living longer than ever before. In 2004-05, the average life expectancy (at birth) of Australian men and women were 79 and 83 years. This makes Australian among the longest lived people in the world. The cost of health care is, for the moment, quite modest by international standards.

Yet there is quite a clear agreement that Australia’s health care system is stuffed, that somehow it is failing to deliver the sort of results that we would like. We have too many fat kids, kids that don’t exercise enough, kids that eat too much, kids with bad teeth, kids that smoke too much, kids that drink too much, kids that pop too many pills. It was so much better in our days – when all we could eat were lard sandwiches, smoke cigarettes behind the shed, and play football barefoot on the street, while our mothers were in the kitchen quietly dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. But no, our kids are too soft and we know what’s best for them.

But don’t just pick on the littlies. Why not the oldies? They’re too demented to know what’s good for them. Why, if only they exercised more and ate properly, they wouldn’t fall over and hurt themselves or clog up our hospitals with renal dialysis.

Then you’ve got the old (ho-hum) rugby scrum between the stern-looking guys in white coats and the witch-doctors promoting alternative therapies: ‘You can’t trust them holistic types, there’s no science in them’. And finally, there’s always that big bogey-man everyone loves to hate: big fat rich corporations (health insurance, pharmaceutical and, wait for it, oil companies) and professional associations (greedy doctors and dentists) all seeking for ways to rip you off.

There is one personality type that permeates the baying crowd: the one who knows the Truth. In his view all Australians should hike before breakfast, ride a bike to work, eat sushi for lunch, and have a cup of green tea after work. This one wants to ‘educate’ you, regulate you, provide you with all the infrastructure and incentives you would need, and then tax you to finance it all.

There is no doubt that Australia’s health-care industry can be improved. The problems almost always arise from the strange horse-trading that masquerades as government policy. There is, for a start, a rather odd relationship between Medicare and private health insurance (PHI): why should anyone take out PHI if Medicare is available for free? But Medicare is a major of problems because taxpayers are shielded from the effects that their lifestyle behaviours have upon the cost of the system. Fixing health insurance should be our first priority.

Analysis of individual submissions to follow


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