Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Universal Health Care

After celebrating a victory to kill the Patient Protection and Affordable Heath Care Act, President Donald Trump praised Australia's universal health care system during a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Trump announced: "It's going to be fantastic health care.  I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do."

After learning of Trump’s remark, Senator Bernie Sanders explained: "Well Mr President, you're right, in Australia and every other major country on Earth they guarantee health care to all people.  They don't throw 24 million people off health insurance.  So maybe when we get to the Senate we should start off with looking at the Australian health care system."

Australia has a universal health care system, known as Medicare, which provides their citizens with free access to doctors and public hospitals paid for by the government.  However, the House Republican bill plans to significantly cut the amount of government support for our Medicaid, which provides health care to many of our citizens.

Australian residents are able to see doctors, optometrists, as well as receive some minor surgeries, usually free of charge.  The partial cost of pharmaceuticals is also covered under the separate pharmaceutical benefits plan.  Residents get hospital treatment at no charge, although you can't choose your doctor.  It is partly funded by a 2 percent levy on all taxpayers, although that can be reduced or even waived for people earning low incomes.

In 2014, the Australian government spent 9 percent of its GDP on health care, compared to the 17 percent spent by our government in the same year.  In Australia Medicare doesn't cover all dentist visits, most physiotherapy and ambulance services.  Many Australians still need private health insurance for some or all of those services.


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