Big Magilla wrote:
Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.
I really doubt think it can be done, though keep in mind I am the ultimate pessimist. (Sorry for the long indulgent post)
Firstly, almost all of worlds nations are collectively hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt. Then there is business and personal debt on top of that.
Secondly, the worlds economy looks like it may be heading for another meltdown. The severity of that remains to be seen.
Thirdly, though Americans are told that other Western countries healthcare is free and/or affordable for their citizens I think you would find thats not as clear cut as that and that it in many Western nations are struggling with demand and costs.
Australia is a classic example and for some reason we are regarded as having one of the best systems in the world but it has been degraded over the years.
Back in the 1972 a basically socialist Government introduced free University tuition, universal free health care and lots of other goodies. Whilst the free University remained, in the early 1980s a fee was imposed on students known as HECS. This fee has risen dramatically over the years making high education harder for poorer students who are now also competing with foreign students who have become one of Australia's largest 'export' industries, bringing massive amounts into the country. The HECS fees are recovered once people start earning wages.
Universal free healthcare were reduced or maybe even done away with in the late 1970s than reintroduced in the early 1980s and certainly up until the late 1990s a trip to your local doctor. However, over the last 22 or so years the out of pocket expenses have dramatically increased. Most doctors 'bulk-bill' aged pensioners meaning they have no out of pocket expenses but everybody else is out of pocket about $60 per doctors visit. This has been done by Governments (both side of politics I should add, meaning our version of the Republicans & Democrats) by freezing the amount they pay doctors back. And like everyone else doctors have living expenses, etc. Doctors have effectively had a pay freeze from 2011 until last year!
In the 1990s visits to my shrink cost me zero. Now I'm out of pocket about $150 for every visit. It should be noted that there is a safety net and once you have spent two or three thousands dollars and cost drops to just a couple of dollars per visit.
Hospitals remain free, ditto surgery. However, most public hospitals are understaffed and are a disgrace. I have numerous horror stories dating back from when my father passed away in 2007 until recently in relation to my mother and her numerous health issues. Our local hospital is only equiped to deal with the population of 1996!
Most pathology tests are also free and are X rays. C-Scans and MIRs depend on why you are having them, so you could get it free or have to pay for it. Also, all common prescription medications are subsidised and are dirt cheap. Very next to no cost for old age pensioners and there is a safety net and if you go over that the costs of medicines are further reduces and in the cases of age pensioners become free.
Yearly eye-testing is free for everyone, however dental is not and is only covered for those with private health insurance.
If you need to go to a specialist they are very expensive for the first visit and less so with on-going visits.
And in an act of utter bastasdry our 'version' of the Democrat Party changed the tax rules in around 2012 and people could no longer claim out of pocket medical expenses against their tax return. This only used to apply if your expenses were over $5,000 and primarily effected people with on-going chronic diseases or major life threatening rare diseases for which drug treatment is very expensive and often not subsidised.
We do have the option of private health insurance. It has been made attractive primarily in two ways:
1) You can claim it in tax and reduce your taxable income if you are a high income earner;
2) You go to the front of the queue, pick your own doctor and so on.
I only ever had private health cover for tax purposes but when I ended up in a psychiatric hospital back in 2015, I received the best quality care as I naturally went to a private hospital. Pity the people who end up in a Government run psychiatric hospital. Apparently, they are horrendous. We used to have first rate public psychiatric hospitals until the various State & Territory Governments closed most of them down and thought people would be 'better off' in their home environment. Most of the homeless wondering the streets have either mental health or drug related issues. And though my income has decreased dramatically since I retired from the workforce I maintain my insurance because I don't want to go to a public hospital.
I could go on and on but it does give a picture of how bad things have become. And why have they become like this? Basically:
1) For the last 22 years both sides of politics chipping away, white anting the system and trying to dismantle it brick by brick. Neither side have the courage to do away with our system in one swoop - it would be electoral suicide, but make no mistake they both want to get rid of it by privatisation;
2) Australia has had massive numbers of immigration. Hundreds of thousands most years since 2002. Most people settle in Melbourne or Sydney. At the current rates Melbourne's population will be larger than Sydney in a decade or so as it can spread out in three directions, whereas Sydney can't really grow any further out, only up. Keep in mind Australia, though a large landmass is largely uninhabitable. The massive population growth is one of the key factors in the continual economic growth of the country. As a matter of fact over the last half dozen years its the only reason. However, our politicians lack any foresight. Millions of imported people but little to nothing spent on public transport, schools, hospitals, roads, water supply, electricity supply, etc. As it has happened over 16 years I must admit that you don't really notice it. Though earlier last year I said to my partner that I thought immigration would become an issue because Sydney has become a nightmare to get around. And then boom the media started up on it and there has been growing anger within the community. Most people want immigration to be drastically cut until such time as we can play catch up and credit to some of State Governments who have been building infrastructure but it takes time. Of course to cut immigration suddenly would have a dramatic downward effect on the economy. But whats disturbing is that none of the major parties have an immigration policy - its simply to keep letting people come into the country and just try and cope.
And good luck with 'stricter financial regulation'. We recently had a Royal Commission into the financial industry. The final report is due out later this week and is expected to be damming. What pisses my off is whilst the banks and insurance companies have been behaving appallingly for about 20 years now, none of the former directors well called for questioning nor were politicians responsible for ensuring the integrity of the industry so the commission isn't really getting to root of the problem. And the banks can't win. For years they have been recklessly lending money to people and late last year they tighten up their act in light of the on-going investigations and all the bad publicity. Politicians were out for blood and demanding they act. Now that they have tightened their lending practices the same politicians are slamming them for making it too hard for people to borrow money as real estate prices in Sydney & Melbourne are falling. You can't win. All the problems with the worlds financial sector date back decades and most of those people will not be held accountable, nor will the politicians who over the years have allowed it.
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but nothing much is going to change. Maybe small increment changes but thats about it.
As for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez I really can't recall when I first actually heard about her but in Michael Moore's recent documentary I was really impressed by what she had to say and what she stood for. But don't get you hopes up high because you are likely to be disappointed. Politics is brutal and so are the public. If she does something that is seen as a betrayal, like making a compromise, some supporters will turn. The wheels of change are slow. As I pretty much only read Australian media I'm surprised at the amount of press she receives here. The Australian version of The Guardian had three stories running on her at once!
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One