Paving the road to hell

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Last updated on June 15th, 2017 at 01:30 pm

Hey, did I tell you?  I thought of giving all my money and assets (admittedly not a princely prize) to this homeless guy I see near the Metro station I use here in D.C.

Okay, I didn’t do it, but the thought crossed my mind and that’s what counts, right?:

The Health Minister, Tony Abbott, said yesterday that he had thought of quitting over the Federal Government’s broken Medicare safety net promise, but he said economic responsibility was a more important value for the Government to uphold than keeping commitments.


More disturbing than the broken promise is the fact that the government knew during the election that the figures they were using were shonky, and therefore they knew that they couldn’t keep to their commitment:

The Government says it only recently became aware that the cost of the safety net would rise well beyond its original estimations of $440 million over four years, to $1.4 billion. However, on the eve of the election the Finance Department costed the safety net at $1.2 billion.

What’s more Tony Abbott was one of those who knew about it at the time:

RED-faced Tony Abbott has admitted knowing Medicare safety net costs were blowing out when he made his “ironclad” election promise to protect the scheme.

But the federal Health Minister yesterday refused Opposition demands that he resign.

Mr Abbott interrupted family holidays to deny misleading voters before last year’s election.

“We knew that the costs were blowing out, but I had not the slightest inkling that the Government would want to change it,” he said.

Again I moan: puh-leeze.  He knew that the figure was closer to $1.2 billion than to the $440 million they were quoting, but he didn’t have a clue that this might mean their “iron clad” promise might be under some pressure?  If that’s truly the case, he’s and plain and simple incompetent.

The fact that they knew the figures were bogus when they were making their promises makes the PM’s apology worthless.

And please, spare me the postmodern rightwing guff, should you be tempted to go there, that says “all politicians lie” or “Paul Keating was just as bad” or whatever.  If you want to invoke that sort of morally relativistic rationalisation that’s your problem, I guess, but don’t insult my intelligence with it.

The bottom line is, they lied through their teeth and they should be held accountable.

And even though, from a purely political point of view, I hope Tony Abbott doesn’t resign as it should be fun to have his lame-duck carcass to kick around until election time, the fact remains that if he had half the integrity he likes to pretend he has, then he’d quit.

I know, I know.  He thought about it.

Posted by Tim Dunlop on 04/17/2005 at 08:50 PM
    1. Let’s face it, they all lie like pigs in shit to get elected- would you be as outraged if it was the ALP? Keating was the most blatant, bare-faced teller of porkies ever to disgrace parliament. This ignores the idea that the safety net was and continues to be an incredibly dumb idea, and fiscally irresponsible and unsustainable; it’s pathetic they wimped out on the co-payment. I’d like to see medicare buried, but failing that if at least users had to kick in something they might think twice before going to the quack at the drop of a hat. My two visits to a GP in the last five years cost me about $2800 a visit, so if some geezer has to cough up $5-10 I don’t think that’s any big ask. I know plenty of old farts who toddle off to the sawbones twice a week because they’re bored, it costs them nothing and the medico has to listen to their bitching (and certainly never tells them to get a life, take up bowls and stop wasting their time- ching!) They also have no reluctance to send them off for further tests and write out a few scripts; ching! ching! My father in law who apparently has been dying for the last 25 years was sent for a full MRI etc (no charge to him) and has nothing wrong with him; despite this, he still lobs in at the gp twice a week- if the old sod had to pay something towards it he wouldn’t bother, and could concentrate on giving his neighbours the shits. Anything that you don’t have to pay for tends to be mis-used, and not appreciated.

      Posted by Habib on 04/17 at 09:23 PM • #


    1. BTW- if you want to see some real professional fibbers in action, check out the Queensland Labor government- if Peter Beattie was made of wood, his beak would be a danger to aircraft. And he’s the best of them.

      Posted by Habib on 04/17 at 09:25 PM • #


    1. It’s always a clever and convenient trick to say “hey, no comparisons, relativism, yada yada…”

      But nothing alters the power of comparison when it comes to talk of lies and resignation

      So, then:

      “By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty.”

      A lie. No resignation.

      “They’re L.A.W. Law.”

      A lie. No resignation.


      Posted by C.L. on 04/17 at 09:27 PM • #


    1. Someone should make a site listing (with evidence) broken election promises. Broken by both the federal government and Labor state governments.

      Posted by The_Consigliere on 04/17 at 09:34 PM • #


    1. Good Idea, Consigliere.

      I’d like standards to be the same for all parties, regardless of affiliation.

      If, as I expect, the Left ends up smelling like what roses grow in by comparison, well and good.

      If I’m wrong, then it’s even more valuable. I’ll have learnt something. Yes, I know, difficult to believe…

      Posted by aebrain on 04/17 at 09:38 PM • #


    1. I don’t really know or care what all the fuss is about. The opposition has falsely accused the government of lying so many times that I can’t even be bothered reading past the headline anymore.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 04/17 at 09:44 PM • #


    1. The “safety net” was bad policy from the start. And bad policy usually comes around and bites you on the arse, eventually, as this did.

      I’m a Tony Abbott fan. I think he will make a great PM in the future. For this reason he should resign now. It would do him great credit and I think the only way to salvage this for his future career.

      It wouldn’t damage Howard, as he has enough political capital to deal with this sort of mistake, particularly as admitting it is the economically prudent thing to do. As has been shown before, despite all the sound and fury the electorate know it’s the right thing to do.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 04/17 at 09:54 PM • #


    1. The safety net was not of the govt it was of the senate (that unrepresentative swill) who demanded these changes to the original medicare bill before allowing its passage.  The govt were then forced to go to an election supporting the senate’s medicare against the alp’s wacko version.

      This has been the case for too long, the elected govt has its policies rejected by a hostile senate who have well and truly exceeded their mandate as a house of review.

      The truth is that someone should take medicare out the back and shoot it.  Its unworkable.  However, due to the screams of “he lied to me he lied to me” reasonable debate is not on the agenda.

      Roll on July, when all those attention seeker and hand wringing senators will be left out to dry.

      Posted by rog2 on 04/17 at 10:07 PM • #


    1. In a perverted way but along vaguely similar lines, it would have been delightful to watch the unravelling of Medicare Gold under a Latham government. I mean, as far as politicians’ fairy tales go, that one would have easily won most competitions.

      I say ‘perverted’ because for it to happen it would actually necessitate for Labor to win the last election. Given that condition, I’m pretty happy to forego watching the fun of the above development.


      Posted by JPB on 04/17 at 10:20 PM • #


    1. Have to agree completely Dean.
      My understanding is that Tony Abbott fought quite hard in Cabinet against this backflip.

      I would say the best approach would be to resign, and have Howard refuse the appointment, but on the other hand that could make him a bit of a lame duck in the portfolio.  Moving to the back bench for a short period may resolve that problem though, and Howard should look after him as he is without doubt a talent.
      What a lot of people lose sight of when demanding Ministers resign over matters that they had little control of, is that the result is a big drop in pay – not something you do willy nilly, especially if you have a family to suuport.

      Posted by entropy on 04/17 at 10:24 PM • #


    1. I got a mother in law like Habib’s FIL. So my take on public health is somewhat tainted. She’s constantly off to the GP, particularly when bored (nothing on TV). Had so many scans, MRIs, Xrays etc they’re probably picking up her signals from space. Had all her teeth replaced (toothbrush is as new, however). Takes a bag of extremely expensive pills around with her; each pill to counterbalance the effects of the other. Problem is she just gets fatter and fatter. She’s only been getting these aches and pains since she hit the 90 kilo mark. Watches TV and eats biscuits all day every day. And complains. The government never does enough. Has made several welfare switches, depending on the most profitable (single mother, unemployment, disability, aged pension). She even claimed that the bastard government spent all that money on the tsunami when what about the pensioners? And we go invading other countries at huge expense and can’t even find a cure for common obesity! Say, this column is about in-laws, isn’t it? Oh, sorry…

      Posted by underscore on 04/17 at 10:26 PM • #


    1. Rog2 et al.
      Getting rid of medicare is not a feasible option (besides being slightly OT).  In a democracy, the will of the people, expressed through the ballot box, clearly is in favour of keeping medicare, no matter how much you or I may want it removed.
      On that basis you have to accept medicare for its flaws, and the main policy work is trying to minimise the problems.
      While not as bad as Medicare Gold, the chief policy aim of the safety net was neutralising the opposition on medicare, not good policy.

      Posted by entropy on 04/17 at 10:29 PM • #


    1. Bloody oath Habib.  Why the hell should I have to pay for other people’s health care? Especially the ones who sit around doing any or all of the following – smoking, drinking copious amounts of piss, eating crap food, doing no exercise, dropping pills, smoke drugs etc.  By all means, people should be able to engage in any activity they please, but they shouldn’t expect anybody else to pick up the tab.

      I’m just waiting for mental health epidemic to emerge as a result of all those limp dick woofters who spent the late 90s dropping E.

      Further to Habib’s reference about old farts visiting the Doc for a chat – it was a well known fact within the Queensland Ambulance Service that old Dots used to call up the ambos complaining of chest pains, get delivered to the PA A&E and then piss off and go do their shopping at Woolies and Target at Buranda.  Stuff that.  I don’t work my arse off to pay for that sort of crap.

      Posted by murph on 04/17 at 10:29 PM • #


    1. I’m not too sure that the majority want to keep medicare, maybe they dont want it to go…

      People are starting to realise that services are not some God given right they have to be paid for – look at the growth in private schools and private medicine, not to mention housing and transport.

      Whilst they may favour the principle of herd treatment they pay to not to have it for themselves.

      Posted by rog2 on 04/17 at 10:41 PM • #


    1. What’s going on here? Tim Blair sticking the boot into the Howard government? But now I note that the poster is actually Tim Dunlop – who is he?

      a hacker?

      Posted by wombatas on 04/17 at 11:00 PM • #


    1. Murph, are you serious? Using the ambo as a taxi service?
      I hope under the new funding arrangments (through an ambo levy on the electricity bill) there is some method of checking that the old dears are actually admitted.

      Reg2 – maybe someday the majority will want a fee for service regime fo rmedical services.  Not at the moment though.  Besides, I am not entirely sure that would be the best solution, given that I do not really want Oz to emulate the USA medical environment.  Maybe I am just a flawed, wannabe RWDB after all.

      Posted by entropy on 04/17 at 11:04 PM • #


    1. Karl Rove did it to ensure John Howard’s continued support of George Bush.  An ingenious 7 point plan.

      1. Everyone knows Costello is itching to give Howard the shove.
      2. Everyone knows Abbott is a succession contender.
      3. Costello was party to the original deal assuring Abbott that the funds were there.
      4. Costello withdraws the funding reinstating Abbott’s original pre independent Senators revisions plan.
      5. Abbott is shafted and Costello will eventually be blamed by the left as the individual with the most to gain.
      6. Costello is discredited.
      7. Howard remains unchallenged.

      Ingenious I tell you.

      Best wishes

      The Dark Conspirator

      Posted by noir on 04/17 at 11:04 PM • #


    1. Tim Blair (or tim in Tim Dunlop’s posts) has kindly allowed Tim (Dunlop) to share this blog while his (Dunlop’s) is redecorated.  The tone of Tim and tim’s posts should be sufficient to identify each.  Please see the Tim (Dunlop) post Do not adjust your mindsets on Sunday for fuller explanation.

      Posted by noir on 04/17 at 11:09 PM • #


    1. Incidentally, 18 was for 15. wombatas.

      Posted by noir on 04/17 at 11:10 PM • #


    1. Underscore– start leaving tins of lard, donuts, fizzy high sugar/caffeine drinks and chips around, it’ll save us a bundle. Entropy– the case has never been put up to ditch Medicare- it wouldn’t be that hard to torpedo as far as anyone who pays a medicare levy goes; as far as all the passengers on the system goes, another story. If taxpayers actually realised how much it’s costing them, and the substantial saving they could make by going private or self-insuring, Medicare would be deader than Mono-pod Marky’s political career. And if people had to pay for every appointment, procedure and referral, and have to weigh it up against a new wide-screen plasma, they might only do it if they need it. Doctors would also have to join the real world and compete for clientele, and standards might actually improve. I fail to see a downside.

      Posted by Habib on 04/17 at 11:14 PM • #


    1. What is grossly hypocritical about the Labor Party’s stance is that they were opposed to any kind of safety net in the first instance. So now it’s been eroded a bit – bummer – but at least there is still a safety net.  If it was up to the ALP there wouldn’t be one at all.

      And why are a couple of contributors complaining about lard-asses sitting around smoking? The overall costs to Medicare are about the same I reckon – they die much younger, so no long terms costs anyway.

      Posted by walterplinge on 04/17 at 11:20 PM • #


    1. Thankyou for the clarification Noir. I was totally discombobulated there for a moment.

      Posted by wombatas on 04/17 at 11:26 PM • #


    1. Fact: Medicare doesn’t work very well for anyone except the healthcare providers.

      It is a tired and sick old horse that everyone once loved, but it hasn’t won any races of late and won’t in the future and no one will volunteer to put it down.

      All this tinkering with medicare just makes it worse because it was fundamentally flawed from the start. How can you efficiently deliver a service where the original object was to make the service free at source (bulk billing).  Mind boggling as that sounds it was and still is the objective of the ALP. Essentially Medicare was designed as a universal welfare system so naturally the greatest consumer beneficiaries are the affluent and middle class.

      The greatest beneficiaries overall are the service providers. Shit, it’s free money.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 04/17 at 11:27 PM • #


    1. Using the ambo as a taxi service?

      If you have a look at the Flying Doctors call outs, you won’t be surprised to see that a lot of folk get sick on Friday afternoon, and need to be ferried in to Darwin for the week-end.

      It’s more evidence white guilt for the terrible state of Aboriginal health that Aborigines need to use RFDS services much more than the non-indingenous community.

      Posted by pog-ma-thon on 04/17 at 11:42 PM • #


    1. Using the ambo as a taxi service?

      Very serious.  And Pog-ma-thon is similarly correct about the abuse and misuse of the RFDS (especially in NT).  Beating up and/or starving your own kid seems to be the current favourite to guarantee a trip to the big smoke.  If these shitbags had to pay a fiver the usage of these “services” would be halved overnight.

      Posted by murph on 04/18 at 12:08 AM • #


    1. All politicians are forced to give “iron-clad” promises these days because if they don’t then the MSM twists their words with cries of “non-core” blah blah blah…

      Posted by cal on 04/18 at 12:11 AM • #


    1. And why are a couple of contributors complaining about lard-asses sitting around smoking? Because while they’re sitting around smoking (and usually whining about how hard the lot of the pensioner is) they’re not out working, paying tax and the medicare levy. These leeches are the biggest cost to medicare, and have rarely if ever put a razoo towards its funding. sure they croak sooner, but not quick enough, and the public healthcare system keeps them going a lot longer than they warrant, and at great expense. That’s what gives us the shits, Walter.
      BTW- my partner has an ongoing health issue that was none of her doing, and costs a bit to maintain- we pay it, because it’s necessary; if you think I’m bitter and twisted, get her started (she used to work for a shrink on the Gold Coast who specialised in junkies and transexuals, and usually in possession of multiple medicare cards).

      Posted by Habib on 04/18 at 12:26 AM • #


    1. I think the safety net contained the germ of a good idea (made a little better by increasing the threshhold); that public funds spent on medical services would be better directed at those who become very sick and would otherwise have their lives and livelihoods ruined (ie. old fashioned welfare safety net – for cases of extreme misfortune only), rather than inefficiently giving away a little something to us all which we could and should pay for ourselves (probably for much less). It would work even better if the threshhold was raised to about $5000. (or $2000 for pensioners).

      …but more importantly, I live in Melbourne where it’s difficult to get through a single day without being exposed to some smug leftist pontificating, whining or just mouthing off – and now I can’t even escape here…

      et tu, real Tim?

      Posted by kipwatson on 04/18 at 03:01 AM • #


    1. Now hang on, Timdee is a guest and should be treated nice OK?

      I think the safety net contained the germ of a good idea,- so see a Doctor.

      The principle is that a State cannot run an/any industry effectively or efficiently, the system should entirely privatised, no gap, everybody on medical insurance (like the greenslip for your car) and those that are in need (means tested) for free.

      Too easy?

      Posted by rog2 on 04/18 at 03:40 AM • #


    1. All they have done is remove the left’s ammendments to the original policy. A good decision as it keeps downward pressure on interest rates. Well done Johhny H. Keep doing the hard yards. Once he has control in the senate this wont be neccesary again of course.

      Posted by Astonished on 04/18 at 04:05 AM • #


    1. Habib (#20), you are mainly right about no one actually going to an election on a platform of getting rid of medicare – that would require a Hewson-like levels of crazy brave politics (although hewson did have some radical approaches to medicare from memory, but I cannot remember the details, or care anymore).
      I agree that medicare does suck big time, but, as Churchill might have said, its the worst type of medical payments system, its just better than anything else.
      We don’t want something like NHS with non existant service, or something like the USA’s virtually totally private system.

      Posted by entropy on 04/18 at 05:19 AM • #


    1. As a father of four (doing my bit) I was, and remain quite pleased with the safety net policy. I could very quickly rack up $500 worth of GP type bills, especially as three of my little darlings are sheilas and prone to plumbing aberations.

      As to the lofty moans about `election honesty’ – tough shit Dunlop – elections are war, fix bayonets and do whatever it takes to secure the high ground and destroy the opposition …

      Get over it – you lost, in earlier times you would have been emasculated and your bits thrown into a pit by the city’s gates.

      Come to think about it – maybe they were, which would explain all the moaning and groaning from your corner!

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 05:24 AM • #


    1. murph:

      Why the hell should I pay for other people’s …..? Especially the ones who sit around doing all of the following….

      You perhaps, like me, did not go to university where the first thing learnt was that it was mandatory to pay for other people’s activities including all or any of the following… It was called compulsory student union fees!

      Posted by JeffB on 04/18 at 05:26 AM • #


    1. Jeebus- this is getting like a thread at Webdiary– Old Digger, if you’re a net beneficiary of Medicare, no doubt you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, like the aforementioned coffin-dodgers who keep GP’s tills turning over. There’s a lot of poor sods out there who work hard, pay buckets of tax then get another slice of their meagre refund swiped to fund this gobbler. I bitch about it, and I can at least encorporate- mu brother who’s at the bar has to be a sole trader, and coughs about 10K a year into Medicare, despite being fully privately insured. (And on top of the poultice the fiscal fiend extracts otherwise). Anyone who thinks this to be fair, reasonable and equitable is a dirty commie and should be made to live in some third world shithole where where Marxism rules, like Brackistan.

      Posted by Habib on 04/18 at 05:42 AM • #


    1. Well OK, I apologise for the “whiney, pontificating” bit – yeah that was quite rude – sorry, guest Tim. (I meant what I said about never being able to escape a certain point of view though – but I know how to breathe deeply and count to ten).

      And as for your other point – I’m wouldn’t want to live in a zero-welfare society. You can see examples of that in various hellholes around the world. I like Mr Howard for his common sense conservatism – I’m all for lower taxes and smaller government, but not ad absurdum.

      My impression is that the main problem with Medicare is that squanders large sums on low level doctoring that doesn’t require subsidy, which causes waste and inefficiency, decreases standards, reduces competitiveness and has promoted a lazy-bludger-mentality among doctors

      I think moving towards a safety net is a great idea. I’m quite happy to pay for my own doctors visits and medications (since of course I would save much more in tax than I spent) and I have health insurance (although I never seem to use it), but I would worry about what I would do if I or one of my family suddenly needed an outrageously expensive medical treatment – which medicare often doesn’t cover. These things can happen.

      Obviously in an ideal world, we would all have ideal health insurance which would cover anything which might befall us, but Australia isn’t ever going to be that world, is it?

      Posted by kipwatson on 04/18 at 05:45 AM • #


    1. “There’s a lot of poor sods out there who work hard, pay buckets of tax then get another slice of their meagre refund swiped to fund this gobbler.�?

      Hey Habib – whattha ????  Maybe your brother, at the bar, a man described by you as a `poor sod’ – bent over probably … should stop fucking you and start on his missus, then he too can have the comfortable feeling that if he or one of his family have a nasty turn that requires multiple visits to a GP, probably to have your tongue removed from his anal sphincter, we the great unwashed, will give a helping hand and make sure he won’t end up destitute from the greedy `barrister like’ fees of the afore mentioned GPs – and associated `specialists’.

      If you earn or just get paid enough to fork out $10K in Medicare then fine – give me your address and I’ll pop round for a job interview and apologise for saying you arse fuck your brother and you can share your largess – especially if you’re old enough to have a good cellar…

      As for fucking `brackistan’ – I do live there and look forward to his (Bracks) defeat at the upcoming election.

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 06:09 AM • #


    1. “Beating up and/or starving your own kid seems to be the current favourite to guarantee a trip to the big smoke.”

      It also gives the “victim” entitlement to copious amounts of criminal compensation.

      Posted by amortiser on 04/18 at 06:58 AM • #


    1. The bottom line is, they lied through their teeth and they should be held accountable. 

      Oh geez.  Tim D, he’s a politician.  They all, say we say, exaggerate, or perhaps, accentuate the positive, or are overly optimistic, with respect to projected numbers.  The only ones worse are businessmen making presentations to the Board of Directors.

      Might I respectfully make a suggestion.  There is such a thing as gravitas of a claimed grievance.  Some have more weight than others.  It would help liberals seem much more credible if they could try to avoid saying someone they disagree with or dislike is guilty of hubris.  Or that they should resign.

      If everyone who is claimed to have hubris or should resign did resign, there would be no government officials who could resign.

      Posted by wronwright on 04/18 at 10:41 AM • #


    1. Old Digger- thanks for your insight into my family’s homosexual incest predeliction- I thought it was our own guilty secret. We are all privately or self insured, and still fork out collectively about $26K annually just in medicare levys; somehow I don’t think we get value for money. It might be worthwhile if I got to perform a few procedures myself, on the poor, without anaesthetic- I’ve got a near new Stihl chainsaw I’ve been itching to try out.

      Posted by Habib on 04/18 at 06:16 PM • #


    1. Digger jumps from Medicare levy to anus.

      Why don’t you just thank Habib for his contribution to your proctologist bills?

      Posted by underscore on 04/18 at 07:17 PM • #


    1. “We are all privately or self insured, and still fork out collectively about $26K annually just in Medicare levies; somehow I don’t think we get value for money. It might be worthwhile if I got to perform a few procedures myself, on the poor, without anaesthetic- I’ve got a near new Stihl chainsaw I’ve been itching to try out. “

      Habib – you poor sad sod … Sorry rich sod … A quick trip to the Medicare Calculator thoughtfully provided by the ATO reveals a combined income in excess of $1.75 million is needed to ratchet up a Medicare Levy of $26K …

      I pay a $1500 Levy and have private health cover and I’m glad to, even if my family doesn’t `use’ it all.

      Those in need are welcome to what’s left over from MY share.

      I find your histrionics about `value for money’ a bit sad really, you never know when disaster might strike you or your self admittedly perverted family.

      A case in point – I was playing golf recently when a commotion drew me to the base of a River Red Gum alongside a river that runs through the course.

      The 11 year old daughter of one of the players out that morning had been struck on the head by a large limb which had suddenly fallen from the tree.

      She was severely injured with her brain exposed through a large fracture of her skull.

      If her father, a cleaner, had to fund her treatment himself she would have surely died – he didn’t, our public health system provided the care she needed and although still suffering some slight effects she is back at school and enjoying life.

      So slip your chainsaw up your arse and pull vigorously on the starter there’s a good chap …

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 07:59 PM • #


    1. …Tim Dunlop – who is he?
      a hacker?


      Posted by guinsPen on 04/18 at 08:02 PM • #


    1. Medical emergencies have nothing to do with medicare- they’re handled by paramedics and public/private hospital casualty wards. Try to engage brain before spouting, there’s a good chap.

      Posted by Habib on 04/18 at 08:33 PM • #


    1. Ummm poor Habib your really don’t have a clue do you …

      What does Medicare cover?

      Medicare rebates are linked to government-set Schedule Fees for medical and optometrical services provided by private practitioners.

      Rebates are generally 85 per cent of the Schedule Fee for out-of-hospital services and 75 per cent of the Schedule Fee for hospital in-patient services provided to private patients.

      Access to bulk billing is limited only by the practitioner’s decision whether or not to bulk bill.

      Access to public hospital in-patient, emergency and out-patient services is free-of-charge for Medicare patients.

      A family-based safety net protects high users of medical services from big out-of-pocket costs. This covers the difference between the Medicare rebates and the Schedule Fee for families who exceed a threshold level of payments in a year, but not for charges that are above the Schedule Fee.

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 08:49 PM • #


    1. And more …

      How does Medicare work – public hospital services?

      Public hospital services (and many community based heath services) are provided by State and Territory governments. The Federal Government assists by providing funds from its tax revenue (Medicare Levy) to supplement funds from State and Territory taxes and charges.

      In exchange for Federal funds the States and Territories agree – through the Australian Health Care Agreements – to provide public in-patient, out-patient and emergency services without charge.

      This agreement is designed to protect every Australian’s right to be treated in a public hospital by a hospital-appointed doctor at no direct cost.

      People may also elect to be private patients in public hospitals. This enables them to choose their own doctor. However, in this case they are charged for their hospital accommodation and associated costs and for the medical services provided by the private doctors who treat them. Currently, around 40% of Australians take out private health insurance to help them with these costs.

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 08:52 PM • #


    1. That’s the point though isn’t it – your public or private hospital covers the saving of the young woman’s life, but she may need many years and tens or hundreds of thousands of bucks worth of specialist care to attain maximum recovery. Medicare, private insurance and public hospitals are all pretty darn patchy in terms of what they provide.

      Chances are, in Australia today, if she did need a lot of specialist care, that family would be financially ruined, or she simply wouldn’t recover – or worse still, both. And this is what we get for the billions and billions we collectively pour into health funding.

      Medicare seems to based on some wacky vision of millions of poor 19th century Irish washerwomen who cain’t even afford to take their bairns to the doctor, when almost all of us can and should pay and provide for our day to day and forseeable medical needs, but it’s precisely those ‘out-of-the-blue’ events that a true blue compassionate conservative like John Howard sees the justification for state intervention (for indeed “all conservatism is compassionate”).

      Posted by kipwatson on 04/18 at 09:05 PM • #


    1. The medicare levy doesn’t even cover GP bulk billing let alone public hospitals- they are funded directy by state governments, from dough supplied by the Commonwealth from consolidated revenue, mainly GST. Medicare is propped up from consolidated revenue as well, mainly because punters would shit lockers if the levy reflected the actual and growing) cost. Why is medicine seen as anything other than another commodity/service? The argument goes that it’s necessary because people kark it without medical care, but people also snuff it a lot quicker if they don’t eat, but no-one suggests that food should be publicly funded. Everywhere public medicine has been tried it’s been a collosal failure and a bottomless pit- why should here be any different? Given the attitude of entitlement exhibited by a lot of Australians, particularly welfare recipients, I’m surprised it hasn’t gone tits up already. As I said before- if you’re a net recipient (as you obviously are, OD) it’s a wonder of the modern social-welfare age. If you pay for it, it’s a gyp, nothing more. Like taxation, if it was so all-get out wonderful and beneficial, why are contributions compulsory?

      Posted by Habib on 04/18 at 09:14 PM • #


    1. I’ve experienced the truly awful health system in the UK, the extraordinarily expensive system in the US and the pre-Medibank, voluntary insurance system.

      The pre-Medibank system seemed to work reasonably well (from fading memory) though it was running out of funding as medical services improved and prices escalated. However, those on lower incomes or `pensions’ were still able to access medical care free of charge.

      John Gorton, attempted to support voluntary insurance by a reformed Health Benefits Plan, involving increased benefits and new subsidies toward contributions paid by people on lower incomes. However, the failure to negotiate a satisfactory link between medical fees and benefits with the AMA undermined the effectiveness of his proposals.

      After campaigning heavily on the promise of universal health care the disgusting Whitlam cronyship took office in ’72 and proposed Medibank – I was horrified – look at Canada and Britain I thought, both had health systems that were broke and providing less efficient medical services than we received in backward old ‘Straya.

      Eventually Medibank was born even though the AMA again strongly opposed it as they had the previous Gorton scheme – though it was only because Snedden was such a gutless opposition leader that it got through the Senate.

      Fraser then tried to `improve’ what was rapidly becoming a huge money pit until his tinkerings rendered it completely unworkable when the `opt out’ scheme was introduced and Labor was again elected on the promise of universal health care.

      They fiddled with it and it was re-born as Medicare. The opposition proposed even more tinkerings and that helped keep them out of office until ’96 when they affirmed their support for the now entrenched system.

      Their eventual victory in ’96 cemented Medicare’s place in both political camps so we’re stuck with it, no political party is going to go to the polls with a policy involving the abolition of Medicare (read `universal health care’) – they wouldn’t win.

      Advances in Medicine have changed its `importance’ to society as more effective (and expensive) treatments for many ailments now actually prolong life and improve its quality in quite significant ways.

      I sometimes wonder whether the voluntary system proposed by Gorton would have delivered a better outcome for us 35 years later than the battered Medicare system is able to, but I doubt it.

      So we’re stuck with it and as voters will most likely never elect a party that advocates significantly higher taxation, Medicare will continue to struggle along on GST crutches.

      A voluntary Medicare payment was tried but it started Australia down the slippery slope of Britain’s National Health scheme with two separate health systems – one for the have nots and one for the …

      I still don’t believe Medibank, like most of Whitlam’s witless ideas was necessary at the time, but it’s a democracy and the great unwashed have had their say …

      Posted by OldDigger on 04/18 at 10:16 PM • #


    1. Old Digger you do whaffle on.  Ever tried to condence your thought into a list? 25 words or less?

      “the great unwashed have had their say … “

      OK old digger

      What has you playing golf with a cleaner in a wetland got to do with the price of fish?

      Posted by rog2 on 04/19 at 03:12 AM • #


  1. Hi rog2 sorry for the delay, one of the kids gave me a virus … Don’t worry it didn’t need me to waste Habib’s Medicare Levy it was an `exploit URL spoof virus’ that Panda soon got rid of …


    MACKEREL – 13c per pound. – 4 lb fillet pkgs. at 43c per lb.

    RED SNAPPER – fillets of 6 to 8oz. at 47c per lb.

    – 8 to 10 oz fillet at 52c per lb.

    SARDINES – $3.30 per 10 lb. box

    SWORDFISH (might be shark substitute)

    – 50 to 80 lb. slabs at 45c per lb.

    CONCH MEAT – in 5 lb pckgs. at 40c per pound.

    CRAB MEAT – in King $1.62 per lb.

    SPINEY LOBSTER – 6 to 8 oz. at $2.25 per lb. tails.


    16 to 20 count at $1.25 per lb. (brown and pink)

    21 to 25 count at $1 per lb.

    26 to 30 count at 90@ per lb.

    up to 61 to 70 count at 52c lb.

    TURTLE MEAT, RED – in 5 lb. pckgs. at 37c per lb.

    TUNA – (white) pack in water or solid. 13 oz., $13.35 to $14.

    CATFISH – at 25c per lb.

    RED SNAPPER MIXED at 65c. per lb.

    SCALLOPS at 95c per lb.

    FRESH SHRIMP – in boxes

    at 26 to 30 count, 78c per lb.
    31 to 35 count at 73c per lb.
    36 to 40 count at 68c per lb.
    51 to 60 count at 49c per lb.

    Posted by OldDigger on 04/19 at 06:48 AM • #