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Radical Surgery For Failing Health System

Dr Richard McGrath, Libertarianz Deputy Leader and Health Deregulation spokesman, announced his party's plans to restructure the health sector in New Zealand. "Our policies reinforce the concept of self-ownership and personal responsibility," he said. "Pruning back the state, and giving people their tax dollars back, enables them to choose a high standard of care for themselves within an open marketplace of health care. Further, it makes people responsible for their own choices and actions."


The health infrastructure in New Zealand is an over-regulated, subsidised and feather-bedded mishmash of businesses and industries based largely around the Western model of medicine. The trend has been towards a socialised health system where every citizen has a "right" to medical treatment, paid for by taxes extracted from others.

Libertarianz says that health care is not a right, but a good - to be sold by practitioners to willing customers at a price determined by the competitive free market. A fully privatised, deregulated health industry will encourage excellence and innovation in the delivery of health care, in contrast to a socialised medical system treats its patients with contempt, and devalues and demoralises its employees,.

In a free society, responsibility for personal health would be devolved back to the individuals concerned. The burden of funding the health costs of other people will become a voluntary act of charity, not an excuse for the state to plunder the paypackets and bank accounts of its own citizens.

Libertarianz health policy therefore consists of: # Scrap the general medical services benefit, the practice nurse subsidy, prescription drug subsidies and all other taxpayer assistance to health practitioners and their clients.

# Abolish the Health Funding Authority and excise 'Vote Health' from all future government budgets.

# Allow those wishing to fund the current "die-while-you-wait" chain of public hospitals through a tax on their income to continue to do so; administration of these institutions would be by elected boards selected by democratic vote among people actually paying for the service.

# Remove the protectionist monopoly of the medical, dental, pharmacy, physiotherapeutic and all other professional groups related to provision of health care.

# Stop further state funding of universities - including the medical schools - and initiate a tendering process for their sale and privatisation.

# Liquidate the office of the Health & Disabilities Commissioner and repeal her bogus list of "patient rights".

# Legalise voluntary euthanasia.

# Deregulate the pharmaceutical industry, allow parallel importing of medicinal substances while enforcing copyrights and patents related to drugs and other health technology.

# Devolve all functions of the public health service out to the private sector and to charities.

# As a transitional measure, urgently implement a 'conscientious objection option' for taxpayers whereby people would have their income tax immediately slashed to 10% in return for forswearing all claims on state welfare, health and education. These conscientious objectors could be expected to cover their own health costs through a mixture of private insurance, savings and charitable endowment.

It is expected that the Ministry of Health Deregulation would have a finite lifespan, with government involvement in medicine eventually restricted to protection of the individual rights of health practitioners and consumers under common law.


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