Dear reader, I have discovered on my hard drive a couple more health submissions from the book that never was. I will post them and the health over view over the forthcoming week. For those that are confused I suggest you reference the very earliest posts on this blogsite. Doc
Major medical problems in Australia due to obesity, smoking and alcohol need greater preventive campaigns and free behaviour change assistance for all people at risk.
This statement single handedly captures the ridiculousness of Australia’s Medicare system. What does ‘free behavioural change assistance’ really mean?
Medicare is compulsory national insurance: everyone contributes to it and is covered by it. However, contribution is based upon not the risk one poses to the national insurance pool, but by how much one can contribute. Thus a person’s lifestyle choice (how much they exercise, how much they eat, drink and smoke) has no bearing upon his or her financial contributions. Instead, he or she is covered, no matter what they do.
So unable to influence behaviour through the insurance system, governments instead focus on other ways to change behaviour. Government tend to lecture you (say, a multi-million dollar television campaign telling you that a glass of vino after work is the work of the devil). Governments can even get tough: ‘if we catch you drinking, or not exercising or smoking, then you are in really big trouble …’. But incentives are still important, so of course, there are many examples of governments turning to their own citizens to enforce is dictates.
So if you, Tim, plan to head off to the race track tomorrow to place a few bets, tug on a few ciggies, you better watch out. Somewhere there is a little boy scout ready to dob you into the re-education
Back of the envelope
- Cost --- Multi millions
- Expected impact on average earnings --- Unchanged average weekly earnings except for public servants enforcing the law
- Expected impact on economic growth --- Big decrease in GDP as everyone lives in fear of little boy scouts
- Impact on incentives --- Don't do anything remotely fun, in case your neighbour thinks you're behaving suspiciously
- Impact on government spending --- big increase
- Impact on taxation --- big increase
- Winners --- re education camp managers, stasi officials and scouts
- Losers --- TAB Tim at the races