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Premium Rises Show Need For Public Health System

7 May 2002

Health Insurance Premium Rises Show Need For Public Health System

News that New Zealand’s biggest health insurer is to sharply increase premiums for elderly customers proves the importance of a high-quality, free public health care system, Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton says.

“Private insurance companies will always have to make a profit. They cannot spread risk across a person’s lifetime, because they will be undercut by firms charging lower premiums for low risk times of life,” Jim Anderton said.

“The tax-funded public health system effectively does a very efficient job of spreading premiums across a person’s lifetime. Working age people contribute now towards some of the cost of the health care of the elderly, on the basis that when they retire the next generation of working people will pick up its fair share.

“Act and National want to privatise the health system, which will leave very few elderly able to afford the insurance premiums necessary.

“Only a high-quality, free public health system ensures that New Zealanders get access to health care when they need it.

“I have always stood for a free public health system as the best way of delivering effective health care and I still do,” Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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