JOHN MENADUE. Private Health Insurance vs dental care.

Australian health would be much improved if the $11 billion subsidy for private health insurance was abolished and part of those funds allocated to universal dental care within Medicare.  

We have strange priorities in healthcare in Australia. In part, this is due to the extravagant ways in which conservative governments try to keep propping up private health insurance.

We spend $11 billion p.a. to subsidise inefficient and unfair private health insurance, but we cannot afford $6 billion p.a. to include dental care within Medicare.

In December last year, the National Council of Social Services in NSW in its report ‘Poor Health; the cost of living in NSW’ found that:

  • Almost 40% of people earning under $75,000 p.a. cannot afford to see a dentist.
  • Of those who do see a dentist, one in five do not go ahead with the recommended treatment because it is too expensive.
  • Poor dental health not only affects a person’s overall health but also makes it harder to find a job, particularly for young people.
  • There is a huge disparity in the availability of dental services, particularly in rural and remote areas.
  • There were 107,322 adults and 13,284 children on NSW public dental waiting lists.

The Whitlam and Hawke governments established Medicare largely because of the inefficiency and unfairness of private health insurance. But with the Liberal Party pouring more and more subsidies into private health insurance, and with the acquiescence of the ALP, Medicare is being effectively privatized and dental care needs are being ignored. The taxpayer is spending $11 billion p.a. to promote the erosion and downgrading of Medicare.

Every year parasitic organizations like Medibank Private, BUPA and others ,who spend millions on look alike policies, are receiving public money to eat away at Medicare. With government encouragement they are taking us down the destructive US private health insurance path.

Australian health would be much improved if the $11 billion subsidy for private health insurance was abolished and part of those funds allocated to universal dental care within Medicare.

See my earlier article ‘Private health insurance and funding a Medicare Dental Scheme’.

print

John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

This entry was posted in Health, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Please keep your comments short and sharp and avoid entering links. For questions regarding our comment system please click here.
(Please note that we are unable to post comments on your behalf.)