Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks

Dunne Speaks

6 March 2014

Every now and then, and usually in hushed tones, the question is asked about how affordable our public health system will be in the future. Especially so as the baby boomers age, and demand more care, and the level of medical knowledge and technical skill continues to grow. And like ice-warnings delivered to the bridge of the Titanic, it is quickly dismissed. After all, thanks to the funding injections of the last two governments, elective surgery waiting lists are largely under control, and health is rarely the front page issue it used to be a decade or so ago. As all is sailing smoothly, why rock the boat?

While there is no immediate crisis, there is no immediate concern. The good ship Public Health is in good hands, sailing serenely on untroubled waters. Or so it seems, Captain Smith.

The one thing any long-term student of health politics quickly understands is that insatiable health demands always outstrip the conventional capacity to provide. So another funding crisis is at some point inevitable, and the application of traditional methods of response, such as the injection of more taxpayer funds, is becoming more and more constrained.

A game-changer is needed. Many governments, in Europe particularly, have already moved towards comprehensive insurance based health care provision. Holland and Spain are prominent examples, but they are by no means alone. Fine Gael, the current lead party of the Irish Government produced its own plan for a comprehensive health insurance scheme a few years ago. Given the similarities between Ireland’s and New Zealand’s economies and societies, Fine Gael’s scheme merits more than passing attention in our country.

And there are other examples, far closer to home, we ought to think about. The most visionary was Australia’s Whitlam Government in the early 1970s with its comprehensive Medicare programme which was never fully realised because of the near decade of conservative governments after 1975. And New Zealand moved significantly in that direction at about the same time with the introduction of the comprehensive no-fault personal injury Accident Compensation scheme. While the Woodhouse principles on which ACC was founded have been compromised somewhat over the years, the essential framework remains intact.

The opportunity is thus there already to establish a comprehensive national health insurance scheme for all New Zealanders by building on and expanding the coverage provided by ACC.

This will not happen overnight, just as the shift to cradle to grave social security did not automatically follow the election of Michael Joseph Savage in 1935. It will take commitment and dedication, persistence and determination, and possibly a support party pushing for a government to investigate such a scheme as part of a confidence and supply agreement for the idea to get the traction it needs to take off. But as the days start to lengthen, the skies begin to grey, and the whiff of ice increases, the Captain Smiths on the bridge may just start to think this is a course adjustment worth making.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Gordon Campbell: The PM’s Hair-Pulling Power Trip

There have been striking differences between (a) the account of the waitress involved in the hair-pulling incidents, and (b) the account being given by Prime Minister John Key. The version by the waitress is available here and is recommended to anyone yet to read it. By her account, there were multiple instances of hair-pulling and these persisted and persisted long after she had made her annoyance clear to Key – who had also been advised by his wife, and by other café staff that the behavior was evidently not being welcomed. More>>

ALSO:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news