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Old 10-01-2008, 07:13 AM   #21
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:58 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bails View Post
Yes health care is free to all. You can insure for extras, like private hospital, own doctor etc. But if you are sick you can get drugs cheap and free medical, it is called medicare.
Ian,
We hear virtually nothing here about the Australian health care system, though I've been told it is excellent, and as you say, free for the most part unless you want frills.

You probably know there's an ongoing discussion here in USA about improving our health care system while reducing costs, and comparisons are often made to the British and Canadian "socialized medicine" systems.

But we often hear about the long waiting periods for health care in those countries. Is there a similar problem in Aus?
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:01 PM   #23
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And how do they manage to do it for 'free'?

OK, I assume you mean it is paid for out the taxes they collect from you.
That's not free. But usually, those systems suffer the 'tragedy of the commons'. No one is really interested in keeping costs down, because the 'other guy' is paying for it (hey - it's free - grab all you can!). How does Aus deal with this?

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Old 10-02-2008, 06:49 AM   #24
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Welcome to the board IAN. Used to live and work in Melbourne. I hope I can make it back there some day. Absoutley loved the people, the city, and the work enviroment!
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:10 PM   #25
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Ian,
We hear virtually nothing here about the Australian health care system, though I've been told it is excellent, and as you say, free for the most part unless you want frills.

You probably know there's an ongoing discussion here in USA about improving our health care system while reducing costs, and comparisons are often made to the British and Canadian "socialized medicine" systems.

But we often hear about the long waiting periods for health care in those countries. Is there a similar problem in Aus?
My experience is that British and other countries including Australia, have reasonable waiting periods for no urgent selective type procedures. What you might find interesting is the US has I believe the shortest Life expectancy of the countries mentioned, maybe you live longer waiting ?
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:24 PM   #26
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And how do they manage to do it for 'free'?

OK, I assume you mean it is paid for out the taxes they collect from you.
That's not free. But usually, those systems suffer the 'tragedy of the commons'. No one is really interested in keeping costs down, because the 'other guy' is paying for it (hey - it's free - grab all you can!). How does Aus deal with this?

-ERD50
I know you probably think your system is better, but I wouldn't change.
To Answer !
Yes it is free to some and others pay taxes to provide. I don't mind personally, I might be in the situation were I need medical help and can't afford it. By the way I believe the US has the highest medical costs in the world, so free enterprise certainly hasn't kept the price down?
I mean, Chinese banks have more money now than US banks, does this mean socialism is the best ? No one system is best for all things, just some work better with Government for all and not the few.
For me I think every one one should be able to have free education, and health, that way you don't get the rich staying rich just because they have the opportunity.No free health means people can change jobs without loosing health care and can better themselves and so on. Most of what you're told about free health is from the Lobbyist of the big drug , medical and insurance companies who have a vested interest.Do you know that some of the companies sell their drugs 10 time higher in the US than the rest of the world. Greed is not good, we only have to look at the mess Wall street is in with all the High paid, Execs with no morals, or ethics.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:05 AM   #27
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I know you probably think your system is better,
Wait a minute, I don't know why you jumped to that conclusion - where did I say (or imply) that the US system was better?

Quote:
To Answer !
Yes it is free to some and others pay taxes to provide.
OK, I guess it is free if you don't pay taxes. That's a probably a complex topic (maybe simpler in Aus?). Many in the US don't pay any/much in Federal Income tax, but most States have sales tax, most people pay taxes for Medicare and Social Security out of their checks. Property taxes are paid directly (or indirectly in your rent) Taxes are buried in the products we buy, because businesses pay taxes, gas has it's own set of taxes. The money is all pooled, so no one in the US can say they don't pay for x,y,z.

Quote:
I don't mind personally, I might be in the situation were I need medical help and can't afford it. By the way I believe the US has the highest medical costs in the world, so free enterprise certainly hasn't kept the price down?
The US system is broken. But it really isn't a free enterprise system. The govt got in and mucked with it years ago. We may (or may not) have been better off if left alone.

Quote:
No free health means people can change jobs without loosing health care and can better themselves and so on.
This is the problem in the US. The 'free' health care is through employers, because the govt mucked with free enterprise and provided tax advantages for companies to provide health care for employees. So now, people's health care is tied to their jobs.

Quote:
Most of what you're told about free health is from the Lobbyist of the big drug , medical and insurance companies who have a vested interest.Do you know that some of the companies sell their drugs 10 time higher in the US than the rest of the world.
No, you are making assumptions about me again. I realize those sources are biased. One very interesting view I got was from a podcast with a panel of health experts around the world. I've related this before on this forum, but the panel kept talking about all these complexities - the host, getting frustrated with all this, finally blurted out "Wait - let's just COPY some other country's system - SOMEBODY must be doing it right! Who do we COPY!!!". ........ Silence from the panel ..... Finally, a string of ifs/ands/buts.

I don't know how they can charge 10x in the US, unless the govt is involved/supporting this - this would be unlikely to happen in a free market.

Quote:
Greed is not good, we only have to look at the mess Wall street is in with all the High paid, Execs with no morals, or ethics.
I disagree. Greed is what encourages most people to get up and go to work in the morning. It encourages entrepreneurs to take risks, and start new companies that provide new products and services to people, and provides jobs. Greed, like gravity, is neither good nor bad - it just *is*. Use it, work with it, adapt to it. And in a free market, there are usually enough risks to keep the greed in check. If a business person gets 'greedy', and wants to charge 10x for the product, people will go elsewhere and that person learns that 'greed' (by itself) does not work. The free market will not let it work. Usually, when the greed gets out of check, you can trace it back to a govt program. I would much rather depend on the built in checks/balances of a free market system, than rely on an exec having 'morals' or 'ethics'. How can I (or a BOD) know what is in their heart, how can I know they won't change?

Don't get me wrong - I think health care is one of those areas where we probably do need some sort of govt involvement. But I cringe when I hear 'free' health care - those approaches usually succumb to a "tragedy of the Commons" scenario. And, when a free market gets distorted (monopoly, price fixing, etc), yes, I think the govt should step in to restore a free market.

-ERD50
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:08 PM   #28
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Hi Bails, Thanks for all the information. As Erd50 has explained, we are searching in this country for a better healthcare system.

For years every presidential candidate has been promising to fix the broken healthcare system here - but it never happens. That's why we are interested in looking at the systems in other countries.

I have worked in healthcare in several countries and am familiar with the Australian approach to cancer treatment - or Oncology. I know in some states in Aus - maybe all? it is free and in Queensland was financed partially by lottery proceeds and subsidized by the Government - maybe still is. I thought that was a wonderful idea. I also know it is considered by some to be as good as anything in any other country - including USA.

Don't mean to put you on the spot, Bails, we appreciate your input. Keep us up to date with what's happening downunder whenever you feel like it.
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:48 AM   #29
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I disagree. Greed is what encourages most people to get up and go to work in the morning. It encourages entrepreneurs to take risks, and start new companies that provide new products and services to people, and provides jobs. Greed, like gravity, is neither good nor bad - it just *is*. Use it, work with it, adapt to it. And in a free market, there are usually enough risks to keep the greed in check. If a business person gets 'greedy', and wants to charge 10x for the product, people will go elsewhere and that person learns that 'greed' (by itself) does not work. The free market will not let it work. Usually, when the greed gets out of check, you can trace it back to a govt program. I would much rather depend on the built in checks/balances of a free market system, than rely on an exec having 'morals' or 'ethics'. How can I (or a BOD) know what is in their heart, how can I know they won't change?

Don't get me wrong - I think health care is one of those areas where we probably do need some sort of govt involvement. But I cringe when I hear 'free' health care - those approaches usually succumb to a "tragedy of the Commons" scenario. And, when a free market gets distorted (monopoly, price fixing, etc), yes, I think the govt should step in to restore a free market.

-ERD50
Well I suppose this is where I'm different, I don't go to work for greed, I work because I like it, I actually want to work until 85 and fall off my bike and die! I don't want to be rich, I work for lifestyle, perhaps I say these things because I am fortunate enough to be very well compensated for what I do, but I 'd like to think my motivation is the enjoyment I get from what I do. I think we have done the admire the get rich bit no matter how it is achieved. I get very frustrated by corporations who push profit by getting people addicted to gambling smoking and alcohol . We have TV adds here getting KIDS to phone in to a NUMBER to win iPods in so called guessing competitions, the phone companies allow these very high charges, the TV companies allow the adds to run, and the people running the promotional companies think they are smart because they can become rich this way! What do these types of businesses add to society?

We get that idiot Trump on tele over hear, does anyone remember all the worthless paper he produced last time round, says that more Americans should give to charity and he's on the bottom of the charitable giving list, what is to admire with this bloke, in Australia we think he is a joke, but then you may as well. The thing is people for some reason admire this sort of carry one and instead of admiring innovation, (which Americans are recognised for), Humanity, Self respect and so one.

Just a bit more on the Medical stuff:-
1) Our system is Federal
2) Hospitals are State
3) We all pay Goods and services taxes
4) We also have stamp duties, Petrol Taxes and a whole host of other taxes.
5) The US drug companies are told what they can sell for in Australia to be on the Pharmaceuticals list, this was a big sticking point with Bush when he signed the free trade agreement with Australia, however the drug companies now sell cheaper, perhaps at a loss, I don't actually know this but I suspect not. I am not against profits, I'm not anti free market, I just don't like people being taken advantage off when they have no choices, with the choice being they have the option to not buy drugs, but that may mean death, not a good result for free enterprise is it.

One observation I'd make is that your Capital Gains tax seems to low, encourages gain rather than production, benefits the rich, and makes CEO's run companies for share price improvement rather than future sustainability in my opinion. If we had CGT as low as yours compared to income tax, I'd half my tax bill and proportionally pay a lot less tax than my other countrymen that can't have access or understanding to stock markets. Anyway my last statement may be envy , I do know one thing it might be a while for some to gain now.

In case you don't know Australians are legend for taking the "piss" out of people perhaps our convict past. As convicts we probably didn't care for authority to much , pretty much hated the upper class , and had to be self reliant based on the fact we were so far from home. We call our mates old Bastards, and other profanities as a term of endearment, so I try not to intentionally insult.

Best

Ian
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:56 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by outtarentals View Post
Hi Bails, Thanks for all the information. As Erd50 has explained, we are searching in this country for a better healthcare system.

For years every presidential candidate has been promising to fix the broken healthcare system here - but it never happens. That's why we are interested in looking at the systems in other countries.

I have worked in healthcare in several countries and am familiar with the Australian approach to cancer treatment - or Oncology. I know in some states in Aus - maybe all? it is free and in Queensland was financed partially by lottery proceeds and subsidized by the Government - maybe still is. I thought that was a wonderful idea. I also know it is considered by some to be as good as anything in any other country - including USA.

Don't mean to put you on the spot, Bails, we appreciate your input. Keep us up to date with what's happening downunder whenever you feel like it.
Ask anything, I join these boards to get a better understanding of people and countries and expect the same from other members.

As said everyone is covered, for extra you pay for insurance, I do, but I could be in hospital next to a non insured patient with the same doctor, it is just I have the choice if I privately insure. You will get the best treatment for cancer what ever your circumstances , the only difference might be the hospital you are in. We also have free Nursing homes ( Tax payer funded ) these are means tested so if you are rich you pay. Our systems are probably a cross between Swiss and American.
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:59 AM   #31
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BY the way I wonder if the Michael More flick Sicko has been seen by many of the board members ? He looked at a few of the systems in other countries, I don't know if he portrayed the US system fairly but he did go to other countries, so this might fill in some gaps. He allows his films to be downloaded free I believe ?
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:15 AM   #32
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Might find this interesting in regard to how we do home lending in Australia

Not Everyone Should Own a Home - WSJ.com
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:47 AM   #33
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Might find this interesting in regard to how we do home lending in Australia

Not Everyone Should Own a Home - WSJ.com
Bails, I'll comment on your previous replies a bit later (thanks for sharing them), but I wanted to comment on this quickly while I had a bit of time.

Excellent article - a MUST READ for every American. Short and to the point - just great. Thanks for posting the link. Later, I may (or I suggest you do it), start a thread based on that article (referencing back to this one). I suspect that most people in this forum would realize that everything in there is 100% true and relevant, but alas, the general public (in the US) may not agree (or does not want to?).


A few key excerpts (my bold):
Quote:
America has a long and undistinguished history of populist politicians stacking the cards against lenders and in favor of risky homeownership. ....
If socially laudable but economically reckless laws cause entirely predictable problems for lenders, don't be surprised if taxpayers have to bail them out.


The final proof that American social policies have made mortgage lending an unviable industry rests with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If sensible business people don't get into the mortgage industry because it is fundamentally a bad business, the American way has been to send in a couple of quasi-government agencies to fill the gap.


Fannie and Freddie dominated the mortgage industry because ultimately government was prepared to fund activities that prudent lenders would not.


...

Now, Australians -- and others -- place a high value on homeownership too. But they are aghast at the dumb things America has tolerated in pursuit of that goal. Even more dumbfounding is that nobody in Washington seems to be talking about fixing it.

Ms. Albrechtsen
Yes, home mortgages are biased in favor of the homeowner here in the US. It *is* insane, to think that I can take out a fixed 30 year mortgage (who can predict rates for 30 years, other than buying 30 yr T-Bills, and that puts us back to govt involvement in all this?), plus, if rates go down - I can easily get out out of the contract (refinance), but the lender cannot get out on their side. It is not workable, so like the article says - we get Freddie and Fannie.

Getting back to health care for a minute, based on how the US govt has messed up the mortgage system, can you see why so many of us are very skeptical of getting them further involved in our (already broken) health care system?

More later, thanks .... Oh, speaking of Moore ... ummmm, there may be some snippets of truth in 'Sicko', maybe some lessons to learn, but I can't take anything Moore presents seriously. He is a biased, half-truth telling, one-sided distortionist, just trying to put a movie together that can appeal to an emotional fan base that feels the need to blame somebody. And he plays them like a fiddle. No meaningful discussion can happen with Moore at its center. The signal/noise ration is far too low there. That's a shame - I actually think he is a pretty talented story teller. If only he would use those powers for good .

-ERD50
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:26 PM   #34
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We call our mates old Bastards, and other profanities as a term of endearment, so I try not to intentionally insult.
A few years ago I listened to an article on the radio discussing an Australian phrase book in Italy that had just been published aimed at Italians planning to visit Australia. It was very funny but the only item I can now recall is:

"G'Day you old Bastard" - You may hear this greeting spoken between 2 Australians. We don't recommend that you use this greeting when meeting an Australian as the results may be unpredictable!
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:42 PM   #35
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Bails,
As far as I can tell, the mortgage industry here really started having problems when the 0 down, no income verification, teaser rate, no closing costs loans came into vogue.

Before that, people had to be "qualified" for a loan. Sometimes they were turned down. If they didn't qualify they didn't get the loan. Usually, they had to have a downpayment and pay closing costs. People saved for years to buy their first home and it seemed to work for many years. It also served as a natural damper on rising house prices.

We probably should have stuck to that plan. I hope the government doesn't go overboard and bail everyone out now regardless of their financial suituation or we will be in the same pickle all over again.


As for Michael Moore - his movie Sicko is not an unbiased report on the American healthcare system. I don't take his documentaries seriously.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #36
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Well I suppose this is where I'm different, I don't go to work for greed, I work because I like it, I actually want to work until 85 and fall off my bike and die! I don't want to be rich, I work for lifestyle, perhaps I say these things because I am fortunate enough to be very well compensated for what I do, but I 'd like to think my motivation is the enjoyment I get from what I do. I think we have done the admire the get rich bit no matter how it is achieved. I get very frustrated by corporations who push profit by getting people addicted to gambling smoking and alcohol . We have TV adds here getting KIDS to phone in to a NUMBER to win iPods in so called guessing competitions, the phone companies allow these very high charges, the TV companies allow the adds to run, and the people running the promotional companies think they are smart because they can become rich this way! What do these types of businesses add to society?

We get that idiot Trump on tele over hear, does anyone remember all the worthless paper he produced last time round, says that more Americans should give to charity and he's on the bottom of the charitable giving list, what is to admire with this bloke, in Australia we think he is a joke, but then you may as well. The thing is people for some reason admire this sort of carry one and instead of admiring innovation, (which Americans are recognised for), Humanity, Self respect and so one.

Just a bit more on the Medical stuff:-
1) Our system is Federal
2) Hospitals are State
3) We all pay Goods and services taxes
4) We also have stamp duties, Petrol Taxes and a whole host of other taxes.
5) The US drug companies are told what they can sell for in Australia to be on the Pharmaceuticals list, this was a big sticking point with Bush when he signed the free trade agreement with Australia, however the drug companies now sell cheaper, perhaps at a loss, I don't actually know this but I suspect not. I am not against profits, I'm not anti free market, I just don't like people being taken advantage off when they have no choices, with the choice being they have the option to not buy drugs, but that may mean death, not a good result for free enterprise is it.

One observation I'd make is that your Capital Gains tax seems to low, encourages gain rather than production, benefits the rich, and makes CEO's run companies for share price improvement rather than future sustainability in my opinion. If we had CGT as low as yours compared to income tax, I'd half my tax bill and proportionally pay a lot less tax than my other countrymen that can't have access or understanding to stock markets. Anyway my last statement may be envy , I do know one thing it might be a while for some to gain now.

In case you don't know Australians are legend for taking the "piss" out of people perhaps our convict past. As convicts we probably didn't care for authority to much , pretty much hated the upper class , and had to be self reliant based on the fact we were so far from home. We call our mates old Bastards, and other profanities as a term of endearment, so I try not to intentionally insult.

Best

Ian
Our system is similar to the Australians. I feel comfortable that my neighbours are covered by our social net. Greed is the moral debasement of a society and is the next step towards anarchy and a classed society.

Universal (rather than free) healthcare, education, social networks to reduce poverty and supplement income are key to managing poverty and improving living standards.

I don't want to live in an impoverished country.

I like the thought of employers either matching employer contributions or providing pensions.

Government also needs to regulate industry where public money is used or stored, especially banks. Our rigid regulation on banks are the reason why we are not infusing cash to banks and have run over 10 straight years of budget surpluses.

The one problem I see with our system is the propensity of immigrants/refugees to abuse the system for their own gain. They use our laws and free society to their benefit by lobbying for lax immigration laws. We take to many immigrants without the skills and language requirements to succeed in a knowledge based society. In effect we are providing social assistance to third world countries, but our population is hesitant to stop because of the intense lobbying by visible minorities.

I like the Australian response to this problem.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:37 PM   #37
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I have some Canadian friends who farm here in our summer and farm Canada in your summer. Love Canada, last time there I think I met more Aussies working at the Snow than Canadians.

In relation to the post I believe this period will change America for life. For starters countries will not send their reserves to USA to be wasted as in the past. US dollar will become unwanted, this will be a real shock to the global economy as many countries hold US dollar reserves, but they won't want the Govt bonds , and won't want the dollar. Since the US has negative Govt. funds , things might get real interesting, only way forward I would think is the printing press.
The "free economy rules" is garbage when it is only free to those that have special circumstances that allow only them access ! The rest are pacified by being told they to can get there, but few do.Now they look around and see that they are getting blamed because they purchased the dud loans, even though they couldn't be educated enough to tell they were being ripped off . It costs to be educated , and if you family are poor then most likely you will follow, all should have access to education !

No system is perfect, but as I see it Govt. should be for everyone, I didn't choose to be born in the best country in the World, it was luck, I accept this , and I accept some have bad luck, if we all had the same opportunities I wonder what the world would be like, I'm sure there would still be well off and poor , but a lot of the well off "Stupids today" might not be in the list.
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