Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Does Australia have the ideal healthcare system?

You might not think so from the news report below.  The report covers just one episode of inaccessible healthcare but it is typical of what happens all the time in all states in Australia and in Britain.  Both Australia and Britain have a system of "free" hospitals and local doctors but also (unlike Canada) allow private health services.  And it is a testimony to how bad the "free" system is  that 40% of Australians have private health insurance, which enables them to take advantage of Australia's large network of excellent private hospitals at little or no out-of-pocket cost.

Why would you pay for something if you can have it for free?  The answer of course is that the "free" system is so bad as to be life threatening on occasions.  As the various parts of Obamacare go live, Americans too will experience that. For many, health services will be "free" but unavailable.

Private health insurance is affordable in Australia.  Many people on relatively low incomes have it.  I pay $160 a month for mine. It is bought directly by the person covered rather than through an employer.  So it is a significant budget item for many and the majority would rather spend their money on beer and cigarettes than on insurance.  So they rely on the taxpayer for "free" health care.  They rely on bureaucratic healthcare provision.

And the ineffectiveness of that gets steadily worse.  Bureaucracies do not die overnight.  They are like cancer, slowly growing but they will kill you eventually. They gradually choke themselves to death.  And what we read below shows that process to be in an advanced state in Australia  -- the State health services all go back many decades.  And the services will get even worse in future.

So the present situation is in fact mostly fair.  If you put your money into beer and cigarettes instead of health insurance you deserve only third-rate care and that is what you get. You are mainly raiding people who have already paid for their own care and asking them to pay for your care too.

Can that be improved?  Do the improvident public have to be treated so badly?  If you think improvement is needed the way to it would probably be to get the beer and cigarettes money redirected into private health insurance -- so that the government system is left to care for the few who cannot afford even beer and cigarettes.  If that were done, much of the demand would be taken off the government service and the genuinely poor would get better service.

So if you see the situation described below as a problem, your rational response would be to mandate private health insurance for all but the very poor.  But if you don't like the compulsion in that you can console yourself that the existing system may be rather horrible for many but it is at least fair for the great majority.  Most of those being poorly treated could have chosen otherwise

I have a fairly average health insurance policy so my treatment in a recent health emergency is instructive.  I had an attack of kidney stones.  So I went straight to the Wesley private hospital here in Brisbane -- a church-run hospital named after two great Christians. Within less than two hours of the pain developing, I was given morphine as pain relief and within 6 hours I was on the operating table.  The ideal is possible and readily available in Australia.  It just isn't free

If America ever gets a rational Congress and President, I think they could learn something from Australia

A Sydney hospital left a patient in its emergency department for almost six days, prompting condemnation from an expert in emergency medicine.

Details about the incident are scarce. But a hospital source said the patient was  admitted to Blacktown Hospital's emergency department on Wednesday evening the week before last.

The hospital confirmed the patient had been sitting in a recliner chair in its emergency department and was discharged at some time on Tuesday last week.

"This is absolutely extreme," said Clinical Associate Professor Paul Middleton from Sydney University. "In 25 years working in hospital emergency departments I've never seen anybody stay for that long.

"The lights are on all the time. It's noisy. There are wailing children, mental health patients, people pissed off with waiting and shouting; there's trauma; there's blood and there's vomiting. It's not a place to spend a long time. Patients don't do well [in emergency]."

The hospital, citing patient confidentiality, declined to provide details about the patient's illness. It said they had been treated while in the emergency department and been referred to hospital specialists.

Danny O'Connor, the CEO of the western Sydney local health district, said the patient was discharged after the hospital was satisfied with their progress.

Mr O'Connor also said the case "presented many social complexities" and that the hospital continued to care for patients who were unable to leave for "family or social reasons".

But Professor Middleton said a ward was the only place for a patient in hospital that long.

"There are also alternatives to staying in hospital [such as refuges]," he added.

The Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, declined to comment.

"Our members are sick of being abused by patients who are facing major delays," said Judith Kiedja from the nurses' and midwives' union.

The union advocates the government impose a ratio of one nurse for every three patients to maintain standards of care. Blacktown's emergency department has often run at twice that ratio of nurses this fortnight.

Tanya Whitehouse, from the Macarthur Domestic and Family Violence Service, said she found the case baffling.

"If the patient was facing domestic violence or homelessness, they should have seen a social worker and been found a refuge," she said.

A spokesman for the Family and Community Services Minister, Gabrielle Upton, said over the next three years the government would "invest a record half billion dollars to tackle homelessness across the state".

This latest case comes after a fortnight of major delays at Blacktown Hospital, where between 40 and 60 beds have been closed for the holidays.

A dozen patients, half aged over 80, were waiting more than two days in emergency two weeks ago.

There were further delays last week. Paramedics waited for 17 hours to hand one patient over to the care of the hospital.

"If they're closing that many beds it's a potential for disaster," Professor Middleton said.



NYC may yank terrorism report to appease mosque ‘spying’ critics

You can be sure that the hate-filled De Blasio will do all he can get away with to facilitate the Muslim haters

In top-secret talks to settle federal lawsuits against the NYPD for monitoring mosques, the city is weighing a demand that it scrub from its Web site a report on Islamic terrorists, The Post has learned.

The groundbreaking, 92-page report, titled “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” angers critics who say it promotes “religious profiling” and discrimination against Muslims. But law-enforcement sources say removing the report now would come at the worst time — after mounting terror attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris, Boston, Sydney and Ottawa.

“The harm is that it sends the message that the NYPD is ­going to back down on its counterterrorism effort in the name of political correctness,” said a former NYPD official. “Shame on the NYPD if they do.”

Sources familiar with the case confirmed that removal of the NYPD report is one of the major sticking points in settlement negotiations.

Also on the table are demands that the NYPD halt any ongoing surveillance in the Muslim community and that records of prior monitoring be expunged, sources said.

With what seems today like a crystal ball, the 2007 NYPD report identified an “emerging threat” — al Qaeda-inspired jihadists in the United States and abroad, hell-bent on attacking their host countries.

“Radicalization is something the NYPD saw happening in Europe,” said the former NYPD official. “It was prescient in identifying this phenomenon and predicting it would increase.”

Among the report’s warnings:

    “The majority of radical individuals began as ‘unremarkable’ — they had ‘unremarkable’ jobs, had lived ‘unremarkable’ lives and had little, if any criminal history.”

    Most terrorist wannabes are reasonably well-educated male Muslims between ages 18 and 35, local residents, second- or third-generation with roots in the Middle East or South Asia, and from middle-class families.

    “The Internet is a driver and enabler for the process of radicalization” — providing information on extremist beliefs to practical advice on constructing weapons

    Recent converts to Islam can be the most radical. “Their need to prove their religious convictions to their companions often makes them the most aggressive.”

    Potential jihadists flock to mosques as their religious beliefs deepen, then withdraw from them when “the individual’s level of extremism surpasses that of the mosque.”

    Once a person is radicalized, an attack can happen very quickly. “While the other phases of radicalization may take place gradually, over two to three years, this jihadization component can be a very rapid process, taking only a few months, or even weeks.”

Under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the report served as a blueprint for the NYPD’s “demographic unit,” which sent plainclothes detectives into Muslim cafes, stores and mosques to detect potential terrorists.

After the initiative was exposed by The Associated Press, Muslim leaders and groups filed two lawsuits in Brooklyn federal court claiming they were subjected to unwarranted surveillance.

The suits complain the radicalization report puts virtually all Muslims under suspicion.

Last April, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton disbanded the intelligence-gathering unit.

A spokesman for the city Law Department said, “Discussions are ongoing, and nothing is final.”



Why Orthodox Jewish Women are Happy

Orthodox Jewish women and conservative Muslim women both follow modesty rules, but Orthodox Jewish women are devout without abandoning their individuality and civil liberties.

26-year-old Hayat Boumedienneis the suspected accomplice in last week’s 3-day terror attack in Paris, France. Her common law husband, Amedy Coulibaly, murdered four Jews and a policewoman in a kosher Paris market.

Boumedienne is now the poster girl for young, insecure Western women who abandon Western mores for radical Islam. Boumedienne’s close friend described her to France24 News as an emotional basket case “who often cries and has little confidence in herself.” After discarding her string bikini for a niquab and a crossbow, she became violent instead of loving and merciful. In other words, her radical religious zeal seemed to make her more dark and vengeful than serene and peaceful.

Orthodox Jewish women in France now feel unsafe practicing their faith in public. Jewish women are emigrating from France to Israel in historically high numbers even as scores of young French women are being recruited by ISIS. It is crucial for you and me to ask whether political correctness is misleading women.

Orthodox Jewish women who meticulously follow the Torah abide by “tznius” or modesty laws that direct them to wear stockings, skirts or dresses that fall below the knees as well as blouses that cover their elbows and collarbone. But the Orthodox Jewish woman’s face is always unmasked: her mouth is unrestricted, showing that her religious community values her voice and opinion; she is a unique individual; she is equal to men.

A woman who is free to speak her mind would not feel compelled to cover her mouth with a black cloth. Orthodox Judaism recognizes that all women have a natural right to free speech, and therefore does not ask women to hide their mouths.

Orthodox Jewish women who cover their hair with a wig after marriage are saving some parts of their beauty for their marriage—while retaining their freedom and distinct personalities. Even after marriage, Orthodox Jewish women retain their individuality and their femininity: waistlines, the shape of the lower legs, the slenderness of the ankle and other curves remain visible.

Certainly there are many Muslims of integrity such as Lassana Bathily, a store employee at the kosher supermarket in Paris who courageously helped police gain control over the violence on January 9.

But we also don’t hear repeated stories of Jewish, Christian or atheist men attacking their wives with acid; stoning alleged adulteresses without due process; or refusing to let women drive.

As individuals, we must reject political correctness in our elected representatives and ourselves. Instead of trying to please everyone, let us strive to live our lives as we see fit while allowing our neighbors to do the same. This means being tolerant of others’ words, actions and faith—as long as they do not use their faith to justify violence, coercion or sexism. Religious freedom, not radical relativism, is the key to happiness.



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