Trump likes Australian health care which Democrats think is a single-payer system

Australia’s health care system is the best in the world. It happened by accident with Whitlam having introduced Medibank in 1975 and Fraser having been flummoxed about what to do did nothing other than allow a parallel system of private insurance to compete. The two parallel systems remain, and while both are subsidised by government, the system of care for those at both ends of the income spectrum is as good as one could hope, which is not the same as being perfect.

Which brings me to this where left and right in the United States at least superficially agree on something: Sanders: ‘Trump is right’ on Australian healthcare system. As you can see from the video, Sanders and much of the left do not understand that we have a two-tier system that lets anyone who wishes spend their money to buy higher quality care that can be tailored to their own particular needs. Do the left in the United States, along with their media, ever get anything of importance right?

The Canadian single-payer system is a disaster that has as its one positive feature, that no one ever has to pay a cent when going to the doctor. But the downside is that it is forbidden to buy extra care for oneself (although that may have recently changed) so everyone queues until their number comes up. It is this system that the Democrats want to introduce. It is something along the lines of the Australian system that Trump wants to introduce. My advice, if you are going to get sick, do it in Australia and not in Canada or the US.

And if you want to see an exceptionally funny movie about the Canadian system let me recommend The Barbarian Invasions.

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24 Responses to Trump likes Australian health care which Democrats think is a single-payer system

  1. stackja says:

    PHI has existed in Australia for a long time. Gough’s ‘reform’ stopped VMO system. Beware of ‘free’ anything.

  2. Confused Old Misfit says:

    I’ve just returned to Australia from Canada after an eight year stay there. A mistake that a great many make when referring to a Canadian Health system is in assuming that it is national homogeneous. It is not. Each province runs its own system. Of practical necessity they are all similar on a technical level. However, there can be marked differences between the quality of care available in each. Some provinces have caps on some medical procedures that others cover more fully. The differences are usually minor but occasionally you hear of some one having to go to another province either to be able to afford the procedure ar even to get it done. Don’t live out in the bush! If you live in a small town you may or may not have 24/7 access to emergency care. You may or may not be able to get on a GP’s patient list and if you can you’d better plan your indispositions because it may take a week or two to get an appointment. If you live in the real outback you may be hours away from medical help.
    On the medical insurance issue, you can buy whatever you can afford. But, if you are an insurance provider you cannot sell coverage on a procedure covered by a provincial plan. Effectively that means you can’t, unless you are very very rich, afford to buy full a coverage insurance policy. You can buy coverage against ancillary expenses such as ambulance charges.
    There are also pharmaceutical benefit schemes which give you around a 30% discount on prescription drugs. You can purchase additional insurance to cover extra costs in this area along with dental and optical coverage.
    None of these are inexpensive. The market is too small. Again, a case of government action driving out private opportunity.

  3. Confused Old Misfit says:

    I should mention as well that one does hear, two or three times a year, of people obliged to go to the USA to either have a procedure done that is not available in Canada or to have a procedure done in a timely manner. There have been cases, in the latter instance, where the provincial scheme has paid all or part of the incurred expense. However, the costs are more often born by the patient.

  4. Colin Suttie says:

    A friend had a nasty snowboarding accident in Alberta a few years ago – muscles torn off the bone etc. He went on a 12 month waiting list for an MRI. He flew back to Australia & had surgery 2 days after he got off the plane. The surgeon says he’s lost some mobility & function but not a drastic amount, but if he’d had to wait 12 months for the scan & more for surgery he would likely have been significantly impaired for the rest of his life.
    My wife & I returned to Australia from Calgary earlier than planned – the whole 20 months we were there we couldn’t get registered with a GP or dentist; the final straw was not being able to see an ob/gyn until she would have been 28 weeks pregnant. The medical system there is criminally negligent IMO. Pet dogs get better treatment.
    Unfortunately because I grew up in the U.K., half of my Facebook feed is filled with odes to the similar system there.

  5. Eddystone says:

    The medical system there is criminally negligent IMO. Pet dogs get better treatment.

    The veterinary profession is not taxpayer funded.

  6. Shy Ted says:

    The Australian system is so heavily burdened by non-clinical spending items like health promotion, awareness of everything, nicotine replacement, reduction of stigma, onerous staff development, administration, staff management et al and, I think, 2% of the budget on arts, that if they scrapped or massively reduced these costs they could do far more with far less. I’m a nurse by day and all agree we are snowed under with repetitive paperwork and pointless procedures that have no outcomes. Recently I had the “consumer experience”, a little skin cancer removed, all very straight forward but a preliminary appointment, a pre-op and day of surgery saw me seeing 14 different people, nurses and doctors, not including admin and I don’t know how many swipings of my Medicare card before being wheeled in. I mean, one nurse to take my blood pressure, waiting room, and then a different nurse to go over the paperwork and give me some info. Efficient it ain’t.

  7. Fleeced says:

    Trump didn’t say he liked the Australian system. He was basically saying, “even your system is better than what we have now”. It was a backhanded compliment at best – and not even that, so much as a dig at Obamacare.

    But yes, Sanders and the Dems are wrong if they think Australia is single payer.

  8. Chester Draws says:

    The Canadian single-payer system is a disaster that has as its one positive feature, that no one ever has to pay a cent when going to the doctor.

    Um, not a positive feature. People do not value what they do not pay for, and will therefore waste it, since it is free (to them). People in need then have to wait while people get trivial things dealt with.

    All medical treatments should have a nominal fee attached, to focus people’s minds that it isn’t free. That fee might be quite low, and should be if the country can afford it, but nonetheless not free.

  9. danger mouse says:

    Check out Singapore. Half the cost of Australia..

  10. gbees says:

    I hate paying twice for healthcare. Once through Medicare levy which supposededly pays for everyone and private health insurance which pays for me. The only way I agree to a Medicare levy (PS: I hate levies, prefer it’s all funded without additional levies) is if the ‘free’ (sic) healthcare is provided to the miserably poor, elderly and disabled. No one else needs it. Anyone else can purchase their own healthcare and use that. Otherwise the model is unsustainable and will break soon or the govt. will be forced to raid our bank accounts aka Greece style.

  11. James Gibson says:

    Australia operates a voucher system for medical care. It really is the best system in the world. And you’re right, it was by accident. There were preliminary attempts to bring in a UK-style system where the government employs all doctors in the late 1940s. These were ruled unconstitutional because of the prohibition against civil conscription. The federal government in Australia employs no doctors. It also cannot and does not compel doctors to accept its Medicare vouchers.

    The US system is the worst in the world, and does little more than line the pockets of insurance companies and administrators.

  12. john constantine says:

    Their greens have grasped at their Sanders announcement, and launched a social media campaign to dare to dream what it would be like if all dental treatments were free and State provided.

    Yep, State funded free dental, just as soon as your place in the queue comes up.

    Backyard tooth pulling with pliers is their new growth industry.

  13. Oh come on says:

    It seems to be different from state to state, but in WA, it seems to me our hybrid public/private healthcare system operates as follows:

    Public healthcare – it’s all you need if something’s *really* wrong with you. All the major teaching hospitals in Perth are public. A public and a private patient aren’t treated any differently in dire circumstances. However, in less dire circumstances, if you don’t have private health insurance but need an operation to fix a condition that isn’t life-threatening, you go on a waiting list. Common operations mean long waiting lists. Being in chronic, debilitating pain doesn’t allow you to jump the queue. And of course, spending time in public hospitals sucks. They’re noisy, drab, barely tolerable places that you cannot wait to leave. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else if you were in a particularly bad way and wanted to survive the experience.

    Private healthcare – useful if you require one of those operations to fix a non-life threatening condition. This can be done without the worry of lengthy waiting lists, in a comfortable private hospital where you have your own hotel-like room, nice food, the ability to choose your specialist etc. All in all, a much nicer place to spend time recovering. If something is seriously wrong with you and you rock up to a private hospital as a private patient, you’ll be transferred to a public hospital as a private patient and treated there. The benefits of being a private patient in a public hospital from what I can discern are that you get to choose your specialist. Oh and your TV rental is covered. Some policies provide a daily spending allowance and the means to hire a private nurse. You still have to tolerate the awful public hospital food, the utilitarian decor and the likelihood of not being in a private room (which can be a good thing – better one of your ward mates being around to alert staff if you, say, have a cardiac arrest, as opposed to a nurse finding you dead in your private room in the course of one of their half-hourly checks) and so on.

  14. mh says:

    Poor old Bernie. He got stiffed by the Democrat machine, then he rolled over.

    And Trump won the Presidency.

  15. TheDAwg says:

    What a load of crap!

    Oooooooo, look how good our healthcare system is! OOooooooo,errrrrr.

    Lets not talk about the ridiculous cost to taxpayers-the operative word being TAXPAYERS!

    Lets not talk about TAXPAYERS funding the highest paid GPs in the world by a huge margin over even Germany!

    Lets not talk about TAXPAYERS on the hook for billions to so-called aboriginals.

    Lets not talk about TAXPAYERS on the hook for tourists and other rubbish who use the system.

    Lets not talk about TAXPAYERS on the hook for a plethora of poorly educated numpties masquerading as doctors from Africa, the middle east and Eastern Europe.

    Almost no audits of medical practitioners

    Deficits fund the lot!

    Costs to taxpayers up 55% in last ten years. Did the population increase that much?

    No, its all peachy!

    Call the pig a pig.

  16. Tel says:

    As you can see from the video, Sanders and much of the left do not understand that we have a two-tier system that lets anyone who wishes spend their money to buy higher quality care that can be tailored to their own particular needs.

    That would be nice… but it isn’t what you get.

    There’s all sorts of supplements, drugs and treatments that are simply outlawed in Australia (regardless of private/public, regardless of price) because our government in it’s wisdom decided we don’t want these things. Just because they happen to be widespread overseas matters not.

    I can give at least one specific example: we have rising incidence of gallstones in the Western world, and one of the precursor causes is sluggish bile flow. Now there’s a bunch of things to help with that, like ursodeoxycholic acid (and that’s the active ingredient in Asia bear bile, but anyway with our fine modern technology there’s no need to mistreat the poor bears we can pay a chemist to whip it up in a test tube). Ahhh, but not in Australia… sorry, can’t purchase this product. You can of course do nothing and allow the gallstones to get worse, in which case you can have them removed… but ohhh, they remove your whole gallbladder as well, and they DO NOT ADDRESS THE PRIMARY PROBLEM which was poor bile flow. Welcome to Australian healthcare!

    Now if I was a cynical prick I might think that allowing wealthy people to purchase a product likely to assist in a common ailment might create a situation where the envy brigade demand this product becomes government subsidized. Knowing this situation, government does their level best to block out any new product for the longest possible time in order to protect their budget from further pillaging. This is our secret “death panel” but you can’t call it that.

  17. Megan says:

    Six weeks ago I fell over onto my outstretched hand during my early morning walk. i was pretty sure I had broken something. Went to a local bulk billing clinic the next morning because I could not get an appointment with my own GP for three and half weeks. Plus a charge of $70 for the privilege.

    Three major emergency departments in my area all have three hour plus waiting times for non-urgent cases. And then a long wait to see a specialist. So local bulk billing clinic it was.

    It took four weeks, six visits to the clinic with a charge back to Medicare each time – three times for the referral to X-ray/CT scan and three times to get results because they won’t tell you what the X-ray shows over the phone as they cannot bill Medicare for that. And yes, as I told them on day one, two broken bones in my wrist.

    The splint and hand therapist have cost me $340 out of pocket so far. If this is an example of how well our health care system works then the collapse gbees has mentioned above is pretty much inevitable.

  18. Oh come on says:

    My understanding of the US healthcare system is that it also depends which state you’re in. However, the common belief that poor people die in the streets is absolute rubbish. The poor get treated under Medicaid. It’s the middle class that is screwed when it comes to healthcare, and much more so since the advent of Obamacare. They aren’t eligible for the massive subsidies that low income earners receive for purchasing insurance, so paying for this gobbles up a ridiculous proportion of their incomes.

    A couple of other things about the US healthcare system that aren’t widely acknowledged: you can be treated for a whole range of rare conditions there – for a price. In other countries such as Australia, healthcare spending is much more utilitarian, so funding is directed at treating the more common ailments. So in the US, you can come down with some rare form of skin cancer, pay several hundred thousand dollars to a hospital that specialises in researching treatment for such forms of cancer, and receive treatment that might give you a 50-50 chance of surviving. In Australia, if you come down with the same condition, you’re told your case is terminal, to update your will and henceforth any medical treatment will be palliative in nature. So what is preferable – a situation whereby you can receive lifesaving treatment if you can afford to pay for it, or one that cannot treat you regardless of your wealth and consigns you to certain death?

    Additionally, Americans pay enormously more for medications than anywhere else in the world. US consumets massively subsidise the rest of the world’s medicine expenses. They get virtually no recognition for this from the beneficiaries, let alone gratitude.

  19. Oh come on says:

    I recall reading that someone earning $25kpa get most of their healthcare costs refunded if they’ve purchased an Obamacare plan. However, the subsidy if you’re earning $35kpa is pitifully small.

    Now, $25kpa is a starting salary or what an unskilled labourer might earn. $35kpa isn’t much better. Spending thousands and thousands a year on a crappy Obamacare bronze plan is a big, big ask if you’re on $35kpa. You’d be losing sleep at the prospect of ever getting sick! It’d be ruinous.

  20. Qley says:

    Shy Ted describing it perfectly. The amount of time Shy Ted and I have spent doing online learning modules on how to open a door correctly is absurd.

  21. Qley says:

    US consumets massively subsidise the rest of the world’s medicine expenses.

    This is also overlooked a lot. A lot of the worlds innovations and discoveries are possibly due to this and I doubt we would be having as many new treatments come out of they all of a sudden started paying less.

  22. Habib says:

    If he likes it so much, let him pay for it.

  23. JB5 says:

    The photo on the front page looked like Trump and Steve Martin. Would have been more interesting.

  24. Oh come on says:

    My private health care expenses for myself, my wife and two children are a relatively slight $100/month. Ok we are a young family and I’m on the cheapest plan. But even the most expensive plans aren’t *that* much pricier – double or triple the cost? And they contain a bunch of stuff we’re highly unlikely to need at our age.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these low prices for private health care (and yeah I know I get a 20% or so govt rebate) indicate what a great system we have. No, it suggests to me that the publicly funded healthcare system does the heavy lifting when it comes to treating the populace.

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