American health care (letter)by John GatesNews Weekly
, August 2, 2008
Jeffry Babb's article, "Health care - America's shame" (News Weekly
, July 19, 2008), may be a little over the top.
In my dealings with the health system in the United States, over many years, I never found the hospital system other than excellent, while not overly expensive.
My brother-in-law in New Mexico, certainly not a millionaire, pays a little more for health insurance than our Medical Benefit Fund (MBF). He has better access to programs than we have with MBF.
My recent personal dealings with our health system have been of great concern. The fees that are charged by our doctors vary greatly, with little explanation.
After I received two charges that were $800 over the amount that the fund set, an MBF person said one should ask the doctor whether he or she would accept the Medicare payment and the MBF payment, as settlement of the account.
The third time, with a new surgeon, I asked the question, and the reply was a qualified "yes". The next time I did not ask the question, with the original result.
A close friend who had brain surgery faced frightening charges, and stated that he still had to pay the anaesthetist.
There is no mention of this in the press. There are no questions in the Parliament.
Many good doctors will not work in the public system, which is dominated by a mindless bureaucracy.
I believe that Australia faces a crisis far greater than many other developed countries in the world.
The Federal Government's decision, announced in the recent federal Budget, to allow so many to opt out of private health insurance is a sign of the madness to come.John Gates,