May 19, 2018

“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven” — that’s how many older Australians, with the distorted hindsight of nostalgia, look back on the turmoil of 1968. ABC Radio National has devoted a series of its regular programs to the events around 1968.  The most concise is a short discussion May 1968 revisited on Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra.  Understandably most are retrospective, but there is also a program about lessons for today for those who seek social change  – the Gohn Day Memorial Lecture by Mary Frances Berry Lessons from past resistance movements.

Medical Mystery: Something Happened to U.S. Health Spending After 1980 is the title of an article in the New York Times. Why, in spite of the huge and growing  amount of money Americans spend on health care, has America;s life expectancy not been rising as fast as in comparable nations?  The lack of universal coverage provides one explanation, as do the burden of private health insurance and the influence of Big Pharma. Also, the article’s author, Austin Frank of Boston University, attributes much to general worsening conditions for the poor. The same theme is taken up in Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra last weekend where Sir Michael Marmot explains the influence of  “deaths of despair” from alcohol, other drugs and suicide, as well as inequality as contributing to lower life expectancy in parts of the USA.

People are continuing to drop private health insurance. Figures from APRA show that in the year to March 37,000 people dropped PHI. This was a net figure after 98,000 people under 55 dropped PHI, while insurers gained 61,000 members over 55.  (Fifty-five is the age below which members are net contributors, and above which members are net drawers.) The insurance trade journal Insurance Business, citing a survey by Roy Morgan, attributes the fall to price, coverage gaps and satisfaction with Medicare. If the Coalition had been true to established form we might have expected some rescue effort in the budget, but there has been no specific mention of PHI in the budget.

Abe walks a tightrope on Japan’s foreign worker policy (Japan Times, April 29 2018)

The Iran deal scuppered – aspistragetist

Alexander Downer’s secret meeting with FBI led to Trump-Russia inquiry – the Guardian.

Nissan drives into home solar and battery storage market – RenewEconomy


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