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Politics Rants

Private Health is Piracy

A rant for today about Private Health, you know, the service we’re all made to sign up for by our government.

There’s a lot said about socialised medicine. The gist being it’s a burden on our society we can’t afford as a nation. The government that has just been returned to power is going to attempt further freezes on medicare services over the next few years, which will result in people being out of pocket for minor health services.

But here’s the rub… in a society that sees socialised medicine as a necessity, in the absence of a private health industry, the focus of the government would be on making and keeping people well. Money spent on preventative initiatives is money saved on procedures and services that won’t need to be done. Socialised medicine would be about making people well.

The Private Health Industry is about making as much profit as one can. Providing sub-standard or high-cost services at the expense of the patient. Premiums are paid which often do not cover the full cost of the services leaving the patient sometimes gaps to pay.

The private industry is about the premiums, they rise annually and sometimes quite a bit. Medibank Private (my fund) pat themselves on the back in their 2018 financial report for only increasing the premiums by 3.88%, but that 3.88% when it’s on a premium that has been increasing year on year represents a similar increase as the one back in 2001 when my premium was just $35 per month. On average, it seems, over the last 19 years it has increased by $5 per month per year.

These are for-profit companies, accountable to shareholders, high-paid CEOs and boards. Medibank Private in recent years reports a profit, after tax of about $535.6 million a year.

Medibank Private takes in over $6 BILLION a year in premiums. And they are just 26% of the market.

If instead of paying the premiums we pay for Private Health insurance, we paid more in taxes and supported our public health system I think we’d be much better off. 

There are 33 top-tier private health providers, four of which entered the market in the last three years. It seems strange we throw our money away as we do on services most of us don’t use.

I’d like to see a reform on Private Health, a removal of the requirement to have it, and better emphasis on making ourselves healthier and happier.

Of course there is a weird feedback loop in our society, that props up a lot of these forced industries… superannuation. It is often invested in these big ripoff industries like Health Insurance and Banking. But superannuation is a rant for another day… 🤭

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