Those of you who follow me closely know I stood in the recent federal election for the seat of McMillan as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats. I did not fair well but that is the will of the people and the people are always right. Unfortunately something is "not right" the state of our budget, our health system and the attitude of our politicians.
Before you roll your eyes at me for stating the obvious, allow me to clarify. Labor did well in this campaign on the promise it would protect Medicare, the government body that pays almost all our medical bills and keeps healthcare more or less free for the rest of us. Medicare is a considered a national treasure, often smugly referred to when comparing us favorably with the USA. This smugness is about to bite us because someone has to pay for Medicare and that would be you.
The long suffering taxpayer.
Expenditure on healthcare has tripled in real terms over the last 25 years according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. That's a pretty alarming statistic. We're spending almost 10% of our GDP on health. Even more alarming are the many political gyrations tried over the last two years to try and continue to fund our health system. Tony Abbott at first tried a co-payment, only to see himself knifed by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm then tried talking up a rise in the GST to 15% (great big tax on everything anyone?) with the support of NSW Premier Mike Baird. He then back-flipped and tried giving a portion of income tax to the states. Malcolm then tried a triple somersault and threw his treasurer under the bus by moving the date of the budget, canned the idea of letting the states collect income taxes, posted a budget deficit of forty billion dollars and called the double dissolution election which he just may lose in the next few days.
Now we have a senate which is bound to make any reform impossible due to the populist leanings of it's make up. The people don't care what their healthcare costs, they don't have to pay for it. The doctors have a vested interest in healthcare being expensive, it's how they make their money. The politicians have little care how much it costs, if the taxpayers won't pay, they'll just add it to the national credit card.
Our national debt is fast approaching $42,000 per family and ratings agencies are already threatening to strip our country of it's prized AAA credit rating which will increase our interest payments and add further to the debt. That $42,000 that your family owes has to be paid back, every last cent and both major parties are actively growing that debt. Treasury is already warning that we are one financial crisis away from serious trouble.
It doesn't matter if Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull wins this election. Either way our health system cannot continue the way it's going. Our government cannot continue the way it is going. The last thing you should give a heroin addict is an unlimited supply of heroin, so it is with our weak political class who are addicted to spending other peoples money. Sometime in the next few years that unlimited supply will be choked off and the long, ugly process of rehab will begin. Next election a party that is truly fiscally conservative might be just what the doctor ordered.