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  1. 1
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    NeoTheFatCat

    I have private health insurance, which we started many years before the introduction of the rebate, and which we will (probably) maintain many years after the rebate dies.

    Frankly, it’s embarrassing to get a rebate for something that I would have done anyway.

    I am that strange Australian beast – middle class, good job with a reasonable income to support my lifestyle, happy, not whingeing.

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  2. 2
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    Jimmy

    This article, or rather blog, consists of a one paragraph teaser which I assume is written by Melissa followed by two word for word articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation. Unfortunately this seems to be the trend at Crikey.com and I won’t be renewing my subscription.

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  3. 3
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Jimmy, just to clarify the relationship between Croakey and Crikey, I suggest you read the arrangements about Croakey’s funding (http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/about/). Croakey, which is freely available, operates on minimal funding; one of its aim is to give readers pointers to articles that may be of interest/use. The Crikey bulletin, which is sent to subscribers, is a different kettle of fish.

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  4. 4
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    calyptorhynchus

    I note that the UK Tories are intent on bring more private health ‘expertise’ into the NHS.

    🙁

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  5. 5
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    david mckinnon

    The issue of Private Health Insurance PHI is a vexed one for those of us with disabilities. My wife and I both have mental health problems, we are also on DSP, yet there is no way we can get the security of knowing that either one of us can be almost immediately admitted to hospital for as long as is necessary without paying PHI. the public system doesn’t stack up. Believe me I’m well in front. I estimate that I’ve spent probably 2 years in hospital over the last 30, together with numerous day treatments and approved therapy courses. I’ve had over 35 inpatient admissions to Private Psychiatric Hospitals for periods from a few days to 4 months. . I rarely go a year without sometime in so it doesn’t take long for the $3000 premium to be eaten up.

    As for the medicare safety nets our family reaches both and the PBS safety net as well, we couldn’t get the care we need without theses programs. To access the private system while on DSP requires careful budgeting to cover for the extra expenses that apply until the safety nets cut in but we would much rather do that than rely on the public system which has so few acute beds and which discharges patients often far too early. In the private system your recovery is not governed by pressure on beds, and rushed appointments with overworked registrars.

    I never have been able to work out whether there is an incentive program for those who don’t pay tax seems to me there should be.

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  6. 6
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    floorer

    The Age is running a poll today (how valid the poll is I’ll leave up to you) just over 17,000 people have voted.Sixty eight percent believe there should be no means test. Are all these people going to be effected by a means test? Why is it that people who will probably never be effected by this think this way? Are they all “aspirational” and think it might one day? I don’t understand.

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  7. 7
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Hi Floorer – Rather than running meaningless polls (which at best really just tell us that interest groups are effective at organising respondents), the media could be investigating and explaining the consequences of the PHI incentives right across the system, and their contributions to inequities, workforce distribution etc. These are not well understood, even by people working within the sysgtem. It would also be interesting to compare the care available to those with and without PHI – it can’t always be assumed that more care is better either (eg higher caesarean rates in mothers with PHI).

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  8. 8
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    floorer

    Hello Melissa,Can they(?)really organise 68% of 17,000(11,560)people to warp a poll?Unless you can vote more than once I guess. I get the information bit but isn’t that what Ross G is trying to do? My question is still the same,(think mining tax as well)dead average people seem to be voting to their own detriment,can’t people work things out for themselves occasionally? Thanks for the reply.

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  9. 9
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Hi Floorer
    I know this is away from your main point but may be of interest re the gaming of online polls: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/bad-medicine-fairfax-online-poll-becomes-alternative-health-battleground-20120210-1sg9v.html

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  10. 10
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    floorer

    Yo Mel,(it’s beer time)I get your drift re polls,basically they’re not worthy,I did read the smh article after my last post including the voting on that(will I ever learn?)Thanks again.

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  11. 11
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    Poirot

    Everybody seems to be OK with the fact that Medicare is “means tested”, ie there are exemptions and reductions for low income earners, and the more you earn the more Medicare levy you pay. That’s what a civilised society is about: share your excesses with those less well off (some might even say it’s the Christian way – take note Mr Abbott).
    So why have so many then a problem with means testing private insurance?

    What I would like to see it private health insurance for everybody, with similar funding to Medicare: the more you earn the more you pay for your private health insurance, and make it compulsory just like Medicare. That would solve a few inequity problems …

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  12. 12
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    David Lilley

    It’s exactly the same argument for all types of insurances and all government subsidized services such as education. It’s meant to make these types of private services more affordable for the average person, and while this is the case for some people, it mostly subsidizes the people who are well off, to the detriment of the less well off. Too politically charged though to motivate any real change.

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  13. 13
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    Steve777

    Like Neo (the weight-challenged cat), I am a member of the ‘middle class’ who doesn’t need rebates or welfare. I recently joined a demographic that seems to feel particularly entitled – self-funded retirees – a favourite target of political parties who need to buy votes. I have private health insurance because unfortunately we have a two tiered health system and I can afford to be in the top tier. If I develop a non-life threatening but painful or disabling condition I don’t want to wait for 18 months for treatment. If the rebate is means tested, I don’t think the public hospital queues will be clogged with well-off people waiting two years for cataract surgury or hip replacements. Let’s not means test the rebate – let’s just drop it.

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