Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

The new minority that people love to hate

May 30, 2011 5 comments

Perhaps it is inevitable that people will always need to find a minority to hate. Whether it is based on race, or sex, or sexual preference, or lifestyle choice, or language, or religion, or personal habits… the instinct to discriminate, to distrust “different” people, and to enforce conformity is a constant theme throughout history and throughout the world. If this instinct was purely personal, then it would not be a big issue. People could simply choose to associate with those people they prefer, and we could all live in peace. But sadly, many groups want to use the government to force their bigotry on others.

Over the last 100 years there have been some great improvements in social policy, as the government removed most of their discrimination based on race, religion, sexual preference and sex. There are a few outstanding issues (women in the military, gay adoption rights, special rules for aboriginals) but on the whole we now have less official discrimination in these areas. Sadly, not all minorities have been this lucky.

While some minorities become popular political causes, other minorities are on the receiving end of negative political populism. Politically correct campaigners will loudly support the “good minorities” such as GLBT or immigrant groups, but they are equally loud in their condemnation of the “wrong minorities”. This seems to indicate that we are not becoming more tolerant… we are simply switching our bigotry on to other areas.

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Labor’s hospital reform explained

April 21, 2010 2 comments

Confused by Labor’s proposed hospital reforms? Don’t be. Here is the “simple guide” to how the hospital system will work under Labor’s reform.

It all starts with you, dear taxpayer. You pay tax. Thanks.

Under the new system, the Commonwealth government will contribute 60% and the State governments will contribute 40% into a new set of seven funding bureaucracies (though 1/3 of the commonwealth money is simply re-badged GST). These new bureaucracies will then distribute money to 90 “regional” health bureaucracies, who distribute the money on to the hospitals, partially according to the rules established by a new federal pricing bureaucracy, partially according to the rules of the old state bureaucracies (who remain on as “system manager”) and partially according to their own discretion. There. Simple.

With that combination of the commonwealth health bureaucracy, commonwealth hospital pricing bureaucracy, state health bureaucracies, state hospital funding bureaucracies, and regional hospital bureaucracies, the new system is supposedly going to improve the quality of health care and end the blame game. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Then of course there is the WA exception, but let’s not complicate things.

Fat tax & the liberal tradition

February 17, 2010 3 comments

Earlier today, Stephen Knoll wrote about his campaign for government action to stop people getting fat, and argued that his proposals were consistent with “centre-right” philosophy. He’s half right.

Knoll explained that Australian children are getting fatter, that this will impact on the health budget and that therefore the government should intervene. He correctly pointed out that with our semi-socialist health system people aren’t facing the consequences of their actions and so the current approach is deficient.

But he is wrong when he says that “all potential solutions to the problem however are interventionist and a distortion of free market principles”. Indeed, one of his policy suggestions is fully compatible with the free-market or libertarian philosophy.

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