RE: More Green Party

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 22:23:02 MDT

At 11:05 PM 28/06/00 -0500, Bonnie wrote off list but maybe it's of general

>What I REALLY wanted to know about Australia was [...]what happens when a
>needs medical care?

Gad, that was stupid of me. Um, I'm not sure how to answer this. There are
`public hospitals' open to anyone who walks in (or is driven in with lights
flashing, of course). You go to a triage nurse and sit down for quite a
while, or get rushed upstairs quicksmart. Not unlike CHICAGO HOPE I guess.
No charge to anyone. If you need more work done, they make you an
appointment to see a specialist, sometimes months off. I've had surgery
done this way at a couple of levels of complexity, with good results,
although fuck-all personal hand-holding since they don't have time.

For routine treatment, I have tended until recently to go to a doctor I
built up a relationship with over some years; he kept a detailed history
and knew me and my probs. This was at a Community health clinic, run by the
local council at state expense. No charge; you sign a docket and the clinic
gets paid the `common fee'. My brother the doctor hasn't liked this
approach much, although these days he's working for an aboriginal medical
service so I guess that's how he gets paid.

These days I go to a `bulk billing' private clinic up the road. You walk in
off the street and wait half an hour or whatever and see the guy and he
diagnoses/writes or renews scripts/does minor stuff with scalpel or dry ice
or other rudimentary surgery. Again, this is paid for by signing a chit.
I'm on a few drugs for blood pressure etc, and I pay $A20.60 a month for
them (subsidised by the state). Antibiotics cost about the same for a
course. I was flabbergasted to learn that you guys have to pay $100s.

Of course you can also take out private insurance, and get choice of
doctor, slightly classier hospital beds, etc. If you suddenly die or
approach it, they rush you to the public hospital anyway, where you lie
next to some pauper and grit your teeth at all the $$ you wasted.

There's huge pressure from our conservative govt to get people into
insurance, which is massively subsidised by kickbacks from the tax payer
anyway. I can't see the point, there's damn-all `competition', and the
prices keep soaring.

In the medium term all this will be changed by preventive procedures (just
as putting kryptonite in the water supply has saved most kids from getting
holes in their teeth, ever), targeted cures (like that virus-kills-cancers
story just out), and more radically with nanomedicine. I hope. If I'm in
luck, I'll just catch the forward wave. More likely I'll die next week or
ten years from now, damn it to hell.

Damien B.

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