Pres. Trump Gets Something Right: Australia Does Have a Better Healthcare System Than We Have… it’s called Medicare For All

by Scott Creighton

Those of you who haven’t (yet?) decided to go live under a rock someplace (and I certainly can’t blame those who have) already know President Trump made his first little baby-step yesterday toward a legislative victory, a HUGE one.

The House republicans voted for the “repeal and replace” bill yesterday and it passed by a total of 5 votes.

It’s not what anyone would call a compelling mandate that’s for sure… but it passed the House and now is set to go before the Senate where it will be hacked to pieces and then sent to a joint committee so it can be passed through reconciliation with a straight majority vote.

Let’s put this out there right now. The TrumpCare plan is horrible. It targets the elderly, the disabled and the poor while giving HUGE tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

I say that as a LONG TIME opponent of ObamaCare. I opposed it when they were crafting it and I have opposed it ever since. It is a brutal, republican-based, lobbyist-written, unconstitutionally-mandated payoff for Big Insurance and I have called it was it was, what it still is, from day one: fascism.

But as bad as ObamaCare was (is) TrumpCare is even worse and still, I do not defend one by condemning the other.

In my perfect world, TrumpCare will be defeated as ObamaCare is overturned in favor of a true universal healthcare system such as Medicare For All. I back that because healthcare is a right which we all share or should share, were we to demand it… and because the system itself is far better across every single measuring stick that exists. It provides better care for everyone, keeps people from going bankrupt due to medical costs, saves billions of dollars per year and, perhaps most importantly, denies Big Insurance all the profits they use to further enslave our congress critters.

And I am not alone in that opinion. There are many, many different healthcare unions and associations who agree with me on that one including the AMA and the nurses’ union and all sorts of other medical professionals groups who say the same thing.

You know who else says the same thing? President Donald Trump, father of the reactionary TrumpCare legislation which will only profit the wealthy and Big Insurance.

President Donald Trump praised Australia’s universal health care system Thursday, telling Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that, “you have better healthcare than we do.TIME

Yep. Australia has a Medicare For All system. Actually they have a system where the public pays about 33% of their healthcare costs while the government pays the rest but those costs are primarily for their primary care treatments… hospital bills are covered 100% by the government. For the rest, they can take out private insurance plans if they need to. Younger healthier Australians tend to forgo that option.

Australia has a universal health care structure, with the federal government paying a large part of the cost of health services, including those in public hospitals. The amount paid by the federal government includes:

  1. patient health costs based on the Medicare benefits schedule. Typically, Medicare covers 75% of general practitioner, 85% of specialist and 100% of public in-hospital costs.
  2. patients may be entitled to other concessions or benefits[8]
  3. patients may be entitled to further benefits once they have crossed a so-called safety net threshold, based on total health expenditure for the year.[8]

Government expenditure on healthcare is about 67% of the total, below the OECD average of 72%

Now before you go crazy with your “get ebil Big Gubmint out my darn healthcare!!” rants let’s consider for a second what Australians have to pay for this, since so many Big Insurance apologists are going to screech “BUT LOOK WHAT THEY PAAAAAAAY!!!”

Medicare is funded by a 2% tax levy on taxpayers with incomes above a threshold amount, with an extra 1% levy on high income earners without private health insurance, and the balance being provided by the government from general revenue.[12]

Lets do the math.

Median gross household income in Australia in 2014 was something like $80,000. One percent of that is $800. Two percent is $1,600. That’s $1,600 per person per year for healthcare in Australia. Divide that by 12 months and you are looking at something very similar to what American Medicare recipients pay.

Healthcare costs in Australia in 2014 as a percentage of GDP was 9.8%. That’s not very much.

Now… let’s compare:

U.S. health care spending grew 5.8 percent in 2015, reaching $3.2 trillion or $9,990 per person. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.8 percent

How’s that for a difference?

In fact, we have the most expensive healthcare system in the world and some might say that’s because we have the best system in the world. Not only does President Trump not agree with that, but neither does Forbes:

Turns out that many of those “other countries” (including France) score better than the U.S. in one key metric not included in Cadillac’s TV spot — healthcare. At least that’s according to The Commonwealth Fund in their latest report “Mirror, Mirror On The Wall — 2014 Update” (pdf here).

1. United Kingdom

2. Switzerland

3. Sweden

4. Australia

5. Germany & Netherlands (tied)

7. New Zealand & Norway (tied)

9. France

10. Canada

11. United States

It’s fairly well accepted that the U.S. is the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but many continue to falsely assume that we pay more for healthcare because we get better health (or better health outcomes). The evidence, however, clearly doesn’t support that view.

In almost every single measurable metric, Australia ranks higher than we do in terms of QUALITY of care… not only COST.

Put very simply: they get more and better for LESS.

Period.

Also of note… every single one of those nations on that list above us has a universal, single-payer system. Every. Single. One.

Perhaps this nightmare of a reactionary “healthcare” bill is just what the doctor ordered to get us to wake the fuck up and recognize we have to DEMAND a universal plan now. We can’t wait for pragmatic assholes like Obama or Clinton to continue pretending to do anything in our interests. Clinton herself said we would “never” get universal healthcare so we should just give up.

“People who have health emergencies can’t wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.” Hillary Clinton, 2016

Want to know why she lost to The Duke of Orange? Want to know why she lost to Bernie and they had to steal the nomination from him? There you go. Me, I don’t take my marching orders from Killary. You can if you want. But I don’t.

Yep, every now and then President Trump is going to slip up and say something rational, something that makes sense. And he did that just last night when he said Australia has a better healthcare system than we do.

You know, maybe rather than following shills down the primrose path of “Russia, Russia, Russia!” we should start organizing against BOTH TrumpCare AND ObamaCare and stop being the laughing stock of the entire world.

Universal Healthcare… Medicare For All… NOW!

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2 Responses

  1. Yes….
    we should have medicare for all. !!

  2. Simple, straightforward, correct.

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