Sunday, May 24, 2009

Piers Akerman, Cataract Surgery, Reimbursements, Socialized Medicine and Whitlam-esque extravagance

(Above: well Ronald Reagan might speak against socialized medicine, but Piers Akerman speaks for it).

Over at the Sunday nee Daily Telegraph, we have an exciting special offer - Piers Akerman urgently demanding government welfare, subsidized medicine, and what might pass - if sniffed out by a determined commentariat commentator - as a plea for socialism.

Don't worry, it also - as required by law - contains a devastating reference to the Whitlam-esque debacle of government extravagance, but it's the railing in favor of socialism that enchants us. Rebate cut hurts the weak, Akerman thunders, as he sideswipes the government for punishing the elderly.

Akerman is appalled at the way the uncaring Rudd government has cut the Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgery by about 50 per cent, and having just had his own cataract operation, can testify to the efficiency and usefulness of the operation.

Now don't get me wrong here - my own mother benefited from cataract surgery, and we're all in favor of subsidized, socialized, socialistic medicine in this neck of the woods. After all, it's the easiest way for doctors to afford to service their Mercedes Benz, and be able to take Wednesdays off for golf.

Nor do we mind if Akerman, as usual, can't manage to show the slightest whit or jot of coherence or consistency when it comes to talking about government, or matters like subsidy or middle class welfare. Sure you can dress it up as a "Medicare reinbursement" but some Republicans would run screaming from the room at the way government has its finger in the pie of health care in the lucky country. Let them, I say, and so does Akerman!

Of course the hidden sting in the tail is the government's assessment of the amount of time that it takes to perform the operation, which theoretically involves less time in surgery, and less time should mean a smaller payment to doctors. Well enough of that chit chat about efficiency, let's just call in the defender of the doctors' rights for unbridled access to the public purse.

Just as its misguided move on employee share plans was an ill-designed scheme to punish people it believed were engaged in a tax rort - but proved to be an impediment to employee incentives and to the goal of giving workers a greater share in their own industries - the clampdown on cataract surgery was probably aimed at hurting doctors whom the class warriors in Rudd’s Labor ranks perceive as being too wealthy.

But, as Dr Glasson told me, this measure isn’t going to hurt ophthalmologists; it’s going to hurt their patients.

Yep, an attack on a socialistic, welfare driven "reimbursement" is class warfare, so says the Akerman.

Well for once I'm with Akerman. Let's have more welfare, more reimbursements, more socialism, more government patronage, more bucks in the medical system, and a better quality of Mercedes for doctors.

This once in a lifetime offer of socialistic health care is available only this Sunday. No vouchers or coupons are required, just send in a signed form to Medicare. 

But hurry, be quick. Next week normal service will resume, with ranting and railing at socialism and at Whitlam-esque extravagance by a government incapable of controlling expenditure or balancing a budget, and certainly unable to contain the mushrooming costs of an out of control health care system.

Oh and while he's at it, Akerman throws in a plea for better funding of the public hospital system.

Such technology (microincisional phacoemulsification and artificial intraocular lens) costs money. Public hospitals are broke.

Any move to make this common operation less affordable in the private sector will put more strain on the public hospital system, for which it appears the allocation of funds is not sufficient to compensate for the anticipated increase in demands on it.

Oh wait, I see, it's actually a plea for the private sector to continue to receive a hearty, healthy subsidy. But wait, that's still socialism right, that's still a socialistic, socialized kind of medicine? And while we're at it, can we help out the broke public hospitals?

Yeaay, go socialism. With Akerman on our side, how can we lose?

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