Health Us To Poverty

The thing about Government provided healthcare is that it provides licence for the government to meddle in all areas of our lives.  Government interventions in smoking, bike helmets, salt, sugar, trans-fats, activity, and more can all justified on the grounds of minimising direct health spending.

If nothing else, one must appreciate the bureaucratic logic, worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby that requires that more money needs to be spent on various health related programs so that less money can be spent on direct health.  There is also the Scott Morrison like logic that citizens need to be taxed and controlled lest they do themselves injury and are unable to work, thus affecting national productivity.

But it is not just about the taxing and spending.  It is about the diminution of liberty and choice whereby a bureaucrat in a far distant office can tell every single Australian what they can and cannot do.  European Union like.

What we currently have in Australia (and many countries for that matter) is essentially a mess with layer upon layer of kludges to deal with political issues du jour.  Possibly because the other thing about Government provided healthcare is that it does not need to be government provided.  Health vouchers anyone?

What we have now is not a health system but rather a medical system – a system of payments to the medical industrial complex who are remunerated on activity (visits, operations, beds) and not on outcomes (life expectancy, mortality, life quality).

It is a mindset thing.  Every politician speaks of investing in hospitals and Medicare, but never investing in patients and citizens.  This needs to change, but not with our current political overlords.

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46 Responses to Health Us To Poverty

  1. Rococo Liberal

    I have been saying this for years.
    Health and education should be left to the private sector.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    It’s worthwhile repeating your article from last year: Doers vs Administrators

    The graph says it all: not only are we paying for increased health artistry (which is nice) but we’re also paying for oodles of paper shufflers.

    Sir Humphrey demonstrated the end point of this process: hospitals with no patients.

  3. Empire

    Socialised health and medicine: the state owns your body and your mind.

  4. Tim Neilson

    Coincidentally this showed up as I clicked on to your post Spart.

    Liberty Quote
    If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.

    — P.J. O’Rourke

  5. The BigBlueCat

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #2381148, posted on May 16, 2017 at 10:31 am
    It’s worthwhile repeating your article from last year: Doers vs Administrators

    The graph says it all: not only are we paying for increased health artistry (which is nice) but we’re also paying for oodles of paper shufflers.

    Sir Humphrey demonstrated the end point of this process: hospitals with no patients.

    I keep saying that “Yes, Minsiter!” is more an instruction video than it is satirical comedy.

  6. Ray

    Government does need a license to meddle in our lives, whether that is government provided healthcare or not. All that is required is for a vocal vested interest to make a lot of noise and government will acquiesce regardless of the merits of the case simply because they know no better and cannot be bothered to challenge the rent seekers.

    As a result, our system devolves into a corrupt corporatist state where the interests of the majority are subservient to the needs of self interested institutions and democracy ceases to have any relevance.

    This is not the fault of the institutions who are expected to represent their own interests. Nor is it the fault of a bureaucracy which cannot help but become captive of the interests they are meant to control. The problem lies at the heart of democracy itself, those who are elected to represent the voters and who overwhelmingly fail to fulfill their duties. Worse, most politicians do not even try to do the right thing, preferring the easy route by handing control of the levers of power to those who bleat loudest or longest.

    Our politicians fail us because, as a class of people, they long ago snubbed values in favour of self interest. When politics becomes a career the only thing for which you can depend is that a politician will protect their own future. That means following the course of least resistance in order to achieve short term electoral success.

    Therefore, the problem is not the pubic health system but a professional political class which is rewarded for being subsumed into the prevailing corporatist culture.

  7. stackja

    This needs to change, but not with our current political overlords.

    Liberty Quote
    … it’s a lot easier for the base to get itself a new elite than for the elite to find itself a new base.
    — Mark Steyn

  8. stackja

    I agree with my parents who believed in private education and private health cover.

  9. Dr Faustus

    There is also the Scott Morrison like logic that citizens need to be taxed and controlled lest they do themselves injury and are unable to work, thus affecting national productivity.

    It is clear that the majority of Australians are quite content to have the Government provide them with all, or a substantial part of their income. It’s no great step from there to being grateful to the Government for also curating your well-being and tending to your life-needs.

    It’s the new social contract.

  10. struth

    The problem is that politicians get paid large amounts.
    The larger the amount the more career politicians you get.
    A standard wage, maybe 60 ooo bucks a year and that’s it.
    It then must be made illegal for them to accept any other funding.
    Besides dramatically changing the type of people we get in government, it would dramatically decrease their activity, Canberra would probably only meet once every six months.
    A brilliant situation.
    Better politicians doing less.

  11. struth

    Na, not a sort of, it’s your turn now, sortition, but those that truly care about the country will still be attracted to the job, but for the right reasons.

    I would like to know why our politicians deserve what the president of the United States can do without.

  12. .

    Sortition is only one part of the larger concept of demarchy. Demarchy describes what you’re driving at.

    “True” democracy of Greece had a lot of sortition mixed in with town meetings and actual majority voting.

  13. Tim Neilson

    Liberty Quote
    … it’s a lot easier for the base to get itself a new elite than for the elite to find itself a new base.
    — Mark Steyn

    That used to be true but I think that Mark now recognises that mass immigration of voteherds is an attempt to falsify it.

  14. duncanm

    It is about the diminution of liberty and choice

    Indeed — and as I always like to tell people, it infantalizes the population.

    I ask people who support sugar taxes and the like why they prefer being treated like a child.

    They are but more pavers on the road to serfdom.

  15. Roger

    It’s the new social contract.

    Aye.

    We’re all Scandinavians now.

  16. Ray

    Sortition is the act of selection by random ballot, demarchy is the from of government selected by sortition.

  17. Ray

    The problem with demarchy is that it risks appointing leaders who have no interest in leading.

    Ancient Athens adopted a form of demarchy except when the state was facing significant risk such as external threats, at which times they would turn to a tyrant for leadership. As an example, democracy was suspended during the First Peloponnesian War and Pericles was appointed as Tyrant.

    Even in Medieval Florence, where the Signoria was selected by lot, government succeeded only because of the power of the Medici family behind the scenes, who were able to use their banking fortune to buy influence.

    Therefore, while demarchy may be an attractive approach to eliminate the corruption of power by corporatist elites, it does not deliver effective leadership, and leadership is something we need in spades today. That means a Pericles or a Medici family would be better for our well-being, if only we could guarantee that such a tyrant would remain benevolent.

  18. Ray

    Whilst sortition may not be a suitable approach for government in this country, it could play a greater role than it does at present. Yes we do use sortition in Australia at present, such as in the appointment of juries. Sortition works for juries because jurors are not asked to do anything other an adjudicate on matters when the facts are laid out before them.

    We could extend the jury system into other areas such as quasi-judicial functions. In other words, replace bodies such as the Human Right Commission and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with a grand jury system. So instead of appointing a zealot like Gillian Triggs we could have such decisions determined by members of the community drawn by lot, and so prevent the cultural hijacking which is apparent in many quasi-judicial fora today.

  19. Gavin R Putland

    Ray, re:

    The problem with demarchy is that it risks appointing leaders who have no interest in leading.

    My solution is to use sortition, not to select the leaders, but to select the electoral college that selects the leaders. This takes money and media bias out of the process because the candidates for leadership only need to explain and defend their policies to the electoral college, not to the whole population.

  20. Dr Faustus

    Therefore, while demarchy may be an attractive approach to eliminate the corruption of power by corporatist elites, it does not deliver effective leadership, and leadership is something we need in spades today.

    Sortition had a chance when the electors of Athens and Florence were themselves entitled to vote on the grounds of their citizenship and civic worth.

    In 2017 Australia the chances are that popular sortition would deliver government by Peter Helliar, Cate Blanchett, Kochie, the singing hippies on the APIA advert and the winner of MasterChef.

  21. Boambee John

    struth at 1057

    The remuneration of all persons whose jobs are funded from the public purse should be linked to AWOTE.

    Say seven times AWOTE for the PM, GG, Chief Justice, ranging down to half AWOTE for the lowest public servant. Then establish the scale for those between.

    No more “independent” Remuneration Tribunals which operate with a wink and a nod.

  22. Boambee John

    PS “jobs funded from the public purse” includes Their ABC and that plague of statutory authorities that so vexes us. Put Snowcone and Triggsie on about three times AWOTE and watch their enthusiasm for interfering collapse.

  23. Ray

    Gavin, there are major hurdles to overcome in order to make an electoral college selected via a process of sortition successful.

    One of the major contributory factors to the success of corporatism is the ambivalence of the silent majority, partly due to the notion of rational ignorance and partly die to the fact that many within the electorate just do not give a damn. If these individuals cannot or will not make informed decisions, then it is hardly surprising that public policy is dominated by those who bleat most.

    So the question is, how would an electoral college selected via a process of sortition, result in a cadre of members who were different from the broader electorate? How would an electoral college eliminate rational ignorance or motivate members to give a damn? In other words, a government elected via a representative electoral college would likely be victim to the very same forces which ensure that it is comprised of the same self interested politicians who are voted into office by the wider electorate.

    Unfortunately, it a dichotomy of government, anyone who wants political office is unsuitable and anyone who doesn’t want the job is also unsuitable.

  24. Pingback: Health Us To Poverty | Catallaxy Files | Cranky Old Crow

  25. Squirrel

    There was also an episode of Yes Minister/Prime Minister (not sure if it was the one with the patient-free hospital), which made the point that smoking is likely to reduce expenditure on aged pensions.

    The most pernicious aspect of the path we are on is the steady erosion of anything resembling individual responsibility – anything goes wrong, and it’s someone else’s responsibility; typically that means “the gummint”.

  26. john malpas

    don’t forget the social experiments with doctors. That is why there are very few white gps in the rural areas.
    Though Australia has been bludging on overseas doctor sources for decades.

  27. Cary

    It is clear that the majority of Australians are quite content to have the Government provide them with all, or a substantial part of their income. It’s no great step from there to being grateful to the Government for also curating your well-being and tending to your life-needs.

    And what’s wrong with that?

  28. .

    Purely on a pragmatic level…because eventually, you run out of other people’s money.

    Losing attributes of self-reliance and entrepreneurship might be worse still.

  29. Cary

    All the money that exists is the creation of all. Hence the notion of common wealth. It’s foundational. Even nation building.

    Last person I know who put all his cards on self-reliance and entrepreneurship ended up bankrupt and died of a preventable illness.

  30. Sir Red Robbo

    Compulsory voting is one of the great issues – forces the 15-25% of the population to take part who either don’t care or don’t know there’s an election on. As this segment is likely to include a lot of welfare recipients it means that here, compared to other places, the net support recipients have a bigger say relatively.

    Secondly, as so many voters are rusted on one way or the other it means that the whole bloody thing comes down to a few swinging voters (maybe only a few 10,000s) in a few seats. These probably include a lot of people who rely on government support (and who wouldn’t vote in great numbers elsewhere). And this cohort is probably more easily swayed by self-interest and whichever political numbnut promises them the new stadium/bridge/clinic/handout.

    We either need to get rid of compulsory voting or introduce a weighted vote system – you rely on the government for your income (i.e. almost everyone other than the 40% of taxpayers who actually pay for everything) and you get a vote worth 75% or 50%.

    I discussed getting rid of compulsory voting with a member of Shorten’s staff a few years ago, just for fun. He was appalled – in his own words, “But the Labor party would be smashed!” I asked him if this actually meant that instead they would have to seek votes based on the strength of their policies and ideas, but by that time his head was spinning and he would not answer.

    Given it will never happen – remember some years ago when the bastards went to consdierable length and expense (our money of course) to close down or even prosecute someone who was running ads telling people not to vote or to spoil their ballot – we need some other way of shocking the system. Maybe a tax strike – no-one to file a return/respond to ATO missives etc. – or mass movement to vote informally and deprive them of any scintilla of legitimacy, especially in the Senate – but it would need millions to take part.

    Ideas needed. And while we are at it we should close down Canberra as a city – maybe the nation’s biggest mistake was to create this monster in the first place. Fourth generation tax suckers with no connection or care about how the whole bloody country works. The best infrastructure in the country for the people who deserve it least.

  31. Boambee John

    Cary

    So you advocate equal distribution of all money?

    It would almost be worth trying to hear the screams of the champagne socialists and the wealthy eastern suburbs greenies! 😀😀

  32. Sir Isaac

    Bring on the death of party politics…

    Vote 1 for Doge of Australia.

    I guess a series of un-holy alliances of nutbag parties (Euro style) will have to lead the way in the mean time…

  33. Botswana O'Hooligan

    I had four kids in Uni at the same time but as a supposedly wealthy airline pilot (with the arse out of my drawers thru tax and whatever) I drove a clapped out Valiant rust bucket. The wheels fell off when my missus took me to the cleaners so I had to sell one kid to a government entity to get him thru dentistry for which he paid a return of service of X years after graduation. He became the Guru for a central region and had 32 dentists working under his guidance, 20 of which spent most of their time filling in paperwork. he insisted that he do at least one day a week “on the tools” and was cautioned severely, dentists were thinned out and pen pushers were doubled, and that explains how governments work, actually it explains how government’s don’t work. QRD

  34. duncanm

    Sounds good Cary.

    I’ll be lounging on my yacht. Give me a yell when my paycheck comes in.

  35. JamesS

    My private health insurance cost go up 2 to 3 times the rate of inflation, has done so for quite a while.
    National wages growth is subdued, and GDP growth is not that flash. The system works until it doesn’t, we are all wage slaves for the system (if you work that is)

  36. john constantine

    In the near future, the State calls cary and his partner in for a consultation.

    The baby the couple are pregnant with has been tested in the womb, and found to be potentially disabled, therefore it must be aborted to prevent a lifetime of medical costs.

    Still a fan of Big State Medicine?.

    [ mind you, there could be another half million living disabled Australians if not for eugenic abortions in the country. Imagine their NDIS with this many extra clients.]

  37. gowest

    Here is the current situation in Perth.
    Patient with a broken leg –
    1 … Sent home because they could not find anything wrong on xray – is phoned after 24hrs (at work) …Now leg is broken in 4 places – come in to hospital! No joke..
    2… No doctor is available at public hospital so she gets ambulance to take her to Murdoch St John Private.
    3… Ambulance drops her at Fiona Stanley public hospital because they have agreement to take everyone to public..F### F****
    4… No Doctor available…. temp cast put on leg … waiting ….. Wont release to Private hospital because already in the public hospital.. this is no joke….
    5… Mother chased up and found a surgeon to do the op….
    6.. Still waiting…
    6… Next episode .. No wonder health is so expensive.

  38. Crossie

    We could extend the jury system into other areas such as quasi-judicial functions. In other words, replace bodies such as the Human Right Commission and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with a grand jury system. So instead of appointing a zealot like Gillian Triggs we could have such decisions determined by members of the community drawn by lot, and so prevent the cultural hijacking which is apparent in many quasi-judicial fora today.

    I like this suggestion, it would be much fairer and democratic than the star chamber currently in charge of the country. Then we would really find out what a reasonable person thinks.

  39. Crossie

    We will come to regret the actions of Malcolm Turnbull’s government far longer than those of Gillard and Rudd. Rudd and Gillard may not have known what they were doing most of the time but they did the best they could for their voters. Malcolm is a vanity PM who is embarrassed by Liberal voters and didn’t bother to hide it. This budget is a spit in the eye of Liberal voters for the last election when they turned away from a PM who looks down on them.

    This man is so petty that he will destroy the whole party to get even yet the MPs who elevated him to the leadership are too stupid to realise what is coming if they don’t ditch him and start again. There is not much time left.

    Whatever was the piece the orchestra played as the Titanic sank should be the Liberals’ theme.

  40. rtp

    Since 1950 healthcare spending has skyrocketed. Disability rates have skyrocketed. Chronic disease has skyrocketed. Hospitalisation rates have skyrocketed. The latter have particularly affected children the most.

    And this is true for all Western countries regardless of how socialised or capitalist their medical systems were.

    What happened at that time?

    The introduction of mass childhood vaccination programs.

    Socialised medicine is a catastrophe of course, but it is of no consequence what *economic* model as long as the *medical* paradigm (ie the germ theory and systematic poisonining of children to prevent germs) continues.

    Not a single thing any libertarian says or does about any other issue will have any bearing whatsoever on the capacity of civilisation to continue unless they work out that the systematic poisoning of our children is indeed just that and must be stopped at all costs.

    But no. Most libertarians will tell you until they are blue in the face that scientists, bureaucrats, journalists and politicians are full of shit about every single other issue on the planet. Except vaccines. They couldn’t be wrong about that. No sirree.

    Polio you see? We couldn’t have been lied to about that.

    And smallpox. Obviously when bureaucrats tell us that a tiny little virus that can only be seen under an electron microscope doesn’t exist anywhere on the planet they are telling the God-given truth. No way could they be full of shit on that claim – it just makes so much sense.

    If you believe in vaccines you’re an imbecile and you are *exactly* as culpable for the destruction of civilisation as anybody who writes for the Green Left or who wants all coal fired plants to be shut down.

  41. Diogenes

    And in Sydney (April last year)
    83 yo patient who has trouble breathing and generalised weakness
    1 … dispatched by ambo to Westmead as he collapsed at his GPs – chest Xrayed, put on oxygen, released when feeling better the next morning
    2… a week later same thing, this time gets driven to local private hospital – same routine , but addition of ECG released next morning
    3… a week later is having a pacemaker fitted, preop xrays taken
    4… a week later is having post release visit with heart specialist who hears something wrong as he puts stethoscope on – sent for an xray – “you need to see a lung specialist as there are some worrying shadows.”
    5… 2 days later – “sorry you have advanced lung cancer ” – “If I had known that I wouldn’t have bothered with the pacemaker” – “Do not expect to see Christmas.”

  42. .

    Cary
    #2381470, posted on May 16, 2017 at 6:06 pm
    All the money that exists is the creation of all. Hence the notion of common wealth. It’s foundational. Even nation building.

    Last person I know who put all his cards on self-reliance and entrepreneurship ended up bankrupt and died of a preventable illness.

    Commonwealth means a republic, you moron.

    As for your dead, poor friend; without people like him, there would be no money generated. What did he die of and how old was he? Or are you making shit up again?

  43. .

    But no. Most libertarians will tell you until they are blue in the face that scientists, bureaucrats, journalists and politicians are full of shit about every single other issue on the planet. Except vaccines. They couldn’t be wrong about that. No sirree.

    Because it isn’t, you fucking crackpot.

    Now, fuck off.

  44. Sean

    Hello Judith-

    As someone who worked in the allied health and social services system for many years I do think the “everyone gets a social worker” idea is pretty firmly ensconced into the minds of the bureaucrats who design these programs, not entirely their own fault because the agenda is ghost-written by the leagues of “experts” from professional organisations, not-for-profits and lobby groups who tell the government how they should be spending their money.

    I was a member of the Australian Psychological Society for many years and I got really tired of the leadership self-interest in the guise of helping people – and the constant demands for more government money to fill that ends. There’s never really any subjective analysis on whether or not the Medicare services provided by APS psychologists actually provide good value-for-money for taxpayers or not and as a society I think we need to take a hard look at how that money is dished out.

    Regards, Sean.

  45. greg

    RTP – You’re right. Lot’s of people who are willing to question other widely held beliefs but who blindly accept vaccination and unquestioningly take prescription drugs and eat what the medical establishment tells them they should eat.
    It’s not only vaccines. Damage done to the average person’s microbiome by antibiotics are probably the biggest single contributing factor to chronic illness. Compromised microbiomes that are inherited by babies from their mothers and then compromised more by further exposure to antibiotics and preservatives in food. A compromised gut leads to infection in the body which leads to autoimmunity in mothers that babies are exposed to in the womb. Infection that depletes enzymes that are needed to detoxify drugs and chemicals so that foetuses are exposed to much higher levels of toxins. Genetic damage from prescription drugs – damage to sperm and eggs and damage in the womb. There are many factors involved in chronic illness, but the biggest contributor is the medical establishment.

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