Tuesday, 21 February 2012

It affects me - that's why I must support the private health insurance means test

I want Australia to be more productive, more creative, more fair and economically successful.  Some of these goals require change - change that impacts on real people.

So, when the Gillard government proposed the private health insurance means test, I had to ask myself, does this fit the criteria? Will it make us more productive, or economically successful.  The answer is probably yes.  We need to afford a health system, we need a public dental care system, and for individuals earning over $83,000 or families over $166,000 it seems fair to reduce the rebate they are receiving for purchasing health insurance in return for a $2.4 billion saving over just 3 years.

And it affects me - so I can't very well argue for some changes that don't impact me directly if I won't support changes that do affect me.

Productivity changes affect real people - that's why we need them

If productivity changes didn't impact on anyone, then they are probably not doing anything.  At the moment, Australia is in a once in a century mining boom.  Yes, it's impacting on many industries.  Yes, a lot of people can't see that this is doing them any good.  But, the impacts are real, and they have the potential to transform Australia for the better.

If we want to preserve old manufacturing industries, who is going to pay for it? All of us.

If we want to protect old fashioned retailers, who is going to be affected? All of us.

If we want to continue to drive our economy with polluting, carbon-intensive fuels, who is going to be affected? All of us.

So, we need to embrace the changes that are needed and take advantage of the one in a century opportunity that we are being handed.

I might have to pay and we all might have to change

At the moment, my job isn't impacted by the changes to the economy.  It wasn't always that way - I've been made redundant when the Marketing industry went through change.  So, if you are a manufacturing worker at the Toyota plant, or a retail worker whose shifts are being cut, it would be natural to be concerned. 

For most workers, there are other opportunities.  95% of people who want a job currently are employed.  For the retail worker, you have sales skills - there are currently over 2,000 sales jobs being offered in Melbourne alone.  For the manufacturing worker, there are over 1,500 jobs in Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics in Melbourne.  Change can seem scary, but it's what we have to do as society changes.

For me, I have to pay more for my private health insurance.  I can't ask you to adapt if I won't.  We all have to share the journey.

Tony Abbott's position makes no sense

Given that I will have to pay more for my private health cover, I don't understand why Tony Abbott wants to give me a hand out. Here is his statement on radio...

"Private health insurance is in our DNA. It is our raison d'etre, that is why we exist as a political movement, to give more support and encourage for people who want to get ahead. So, look, private health insurance is an article of faith for us. We will restore the rebate in government as soon as we can.''

So, is he saying that if you are wealthy, we will give you more money to make you more wealthy? Huh?? Honestly, that makes no sense.

Or is he saying he wants to do away with Medicare, and just have private health insurance? That would make even less sense, and be even less equitable.

I'm really trying to understand his perspective, but frankly, I can't see it at all.  Then again, I can't see why Prime Minister Gillard insists on bailing out foreign car companies either ... but that's a discussion for another day.

Times are changing, and we all have to step up to the plate.

Let me know what you think

Mark S

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