by Ross Sharp

Let us begin:

No. 1.

When I was in a public hospital for the month of August last year, the total cost of my treatment, care and the operation I had was $NIL. I was charged $39.77 for a four-week course of antibiotics upon my discharge.

Prior to my admission, I went to my GP who, after a few minutes of stethoscoping (that is now a word), said she was ringing an ambulance and I was off to the hospital. My lung was infected. The care and treatment I had during my stay was exemplary, the commitment from all staff to their work I could not fault (although the curried mince I had for dinner one night was somewhat suspect, but curry mince always is, and it’s a fucking hospital, not a boutique hotel, of which I was well aware).

Now, here’s the thing. In my 56 years of life, that was my first experience of hospital as a patient (excepting of course, the day I was born), and the first operation I had ever had.

As I have been working – constantly from 1976 to the present – my “bill” had been pre-paid.

It is (as Paul Bongiorno notes) called the Medicare levy.

My GP does not bulk-bill, so I am already paying a “co-payment”.

I have no objection to paying a higher Medicare levy (especially if it were to include dental care), but as far as I’m concerned, this government, and the Whirling Dervishes of policy within it, can take their gibbering con-job, and flat-out lies and bullshit about “co-payments” and the “burden” to the economy the sick have now apparently become in this brave new world of “leaners and lifters” and, not to put too fine a point on it, blow it out their collective arses.

As Lenore Taylor notes in today’s Guardian Australia

“The facts suggest Medicare is not in crisis. Its costs are rising but not careening out of control. It might need changes, but the only reason Medicare would not “survive” is if a government deliberately chose to kill it.”

Pardon my bolding.

No. 2.

In his continuing bid to be crowned the “Dumbest Motherfucker in the History of Australian Politics, (a rather crowded field of contenders at present) Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey – a.k.a. The Honourable Member for The North Sydney Forum, “has raised the prospect of people living until 150 to explain why Australians should accept cuts to government benefits and pay a greater share of their health costs.”

Mr. Exploding Pizza Head  – a.k.a. The Sook Who Walks – went on to say, “There’s great news on the horizon for Australia,” Mr Hockey said. “The fact we are living longer is great news. It’s kind of remarkable that somewhere in the world today, it’s highly probable that a child is being born that is going to live to 150. That’s a long time.”

If you enrol to vote at age 18, and live to 150, Federal elections were had every 3 years, you would vote in 44 federal elections, and endure 44 federal election campaigns. Add state elections to the mix, and you’d be up to near 100. Add council elections, and people only vote in those to avoid the fine, and you’d probably be voting for someone, somewhere, every 12 months.

“Great news on the horizon”?

Please kill me.