View Full Version : universal health care vs. insured healthcare

11-17-2008, 06:26 PM
I live in a country that has universal healthcare with some people having private health insurance. I personally think that this is a fair system but I really don't know how other systems work except from the media eg TV or from reading too many on-line nursing/ medical blogs. I'd like to hear from some nurses about how it actually works in their system and I'll do my best to explain ours in a later post (need to get my facts straight first) I have read a few people in the US stating that delays or waitlists for non emergent procedures is a main failing of universal healthcare. Does the US not have waiting lists for non insured patients?

11-17-2008, 09:38 PM
There is a doco by Mike Moore called Sicko. I have heard a lot of nurses bag it, but when I looked into it a lot of the facts were close to correct. I found this a good starting point.

I have posted about the Australian health care system somewhere on NV before. I'm interested to see how NZ differs.

11-18-2008, 05:45 PM
hey PJ would you be able to write something more here about how people access health care in Oz and or note where your previous post is(I lived there for 16 yrs so I have a fair idea). I'm hoping this thread will let us all share how our country provides healthcare and then we can get a feel for what seems to work and what does'nt.:)

11-18-2008, 06:15 PM
Health care in Australia (According to PJ: As he understands it)

Two systems: Medicare ("government insurance") and Private Health Insurance

Medicare: All residents of Australia (citizens, nationals, permanent residents) are registered under a national system called Medicare. When you go to a doctor you will either get 'bulk billed' where you pay nothing, but the government does; you pay a fee eg. $40 and you get $25 back from the medicare; you claim on private health insurance (insurance company pays, but could be limited on amount); Health care (Government pension holders have cheap or free health care).

You can pity much do to any doctor, although some are now closing their books due to over access (these doctors usually service a select portion of the community ie doctor speaks Italian). Some doctors have a walk in model, where you just wait and the first in the first served.

Extras: Private health insurance can cover medical or extras or both. Extras (depending on amount paid per month) pays for dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, physio, remedial massage, gym memberships, etc. Access to these is based on your plan, the type of services and the number of times you need to access them. Eg. you can go to a physio 10 times per year without having to pay; $100 off glasses; 4 remedial massages per year.

Hospitals: Public and Private
Public hospitals are run with support of the STATE government. Most towns have at least a regional public hospital close by (others are accessed by the flying doctor (and nurse) service). Public hospitals always have an Emergency department and because everyone is covered by medicare everyone can use the service. They have waiting lists on elective procedures, but not for emergency cases. These are the BIG hospitals.

Private hospitals are run by companies. You either have to have appropriate health insurance or be willing to pay for all the services. Waiting lists aren't as long, but you have to pay for everything including all your medication. Some regional areas (I originally came from one) have both a public and private hospital, where the same surgeon works at both (flies in once a month from a major city). EG. in the public his waiting list is 12months, in the private it is 3months. Services within the hospital aren't always better than the public system, but you are more likely to get a single room. Food is better in the private system. Pay is generally worse for nurses in the Private system as they are not under a collective agreement with the government (all public nurses are paid the same, based on grade level), thus the nurses are not always the most ..:sleep:.. (although I have worked with a few good ones).

What I like about our system (I don't have private health insurance): I get sick, I see a doctor for free on the same day. I get hit by a car, I go to hospital and get x-rays and patched up for free.

What I don't like: Slipped kneecap from rock climbing. Waited 6 weeks for a specialist (private) appointment, 12months for an operation. In the mean time I can't climb the stairs in my 3 story town house.

11-21-2008, 04:52 AM
great explanation, i must get round to writing about NZ (not so very different)