Instead of making their cover cheaper, NIB wants to abolish Medicare

According to the managing director of a private health provider, the solution to Australians abandoning their business model is abolishing the public health system.



The words of Mark Fitzgibbon, the managing director of NIB is something that requires one to read it aloud, to ensure that you understand it. To Fitzgibbon, the solution of Australians abandoning private health cover is to completely abolish Medicare.

In conversation with The Australian Financial ReviewFitzgibbon took the extraordinary step of solving the problems private health care is facing (too expensive, not enough cover), by asking the government to abolish Medicare entirely, and make private health compulsory. While Fitzgibbon noted that he thinks that the government should pay the premiums of those who cannot, the solution is a cocktail of late-capitalist tripe.

” sensible policy approach would be to make private health insurance compulsory for all Australians with taxation devoted to subsidising the premiums for those who would otherwise be left behind. That is, high-income earners would at one end of the scale pay the entire premium while at the other, those with low income fully subsidised,” Mr Fitzgibbon writes in an op-ed in The Australian Financial Review.

This proclamation comes a week after the Grattan Institute noted that young Australians are abandoning the private health sector in droves, due to the unreasonable cost attached to it. Per AFR, “The Grattan Institute argued the government had two options: either abandon “inequitable” subsidies, such as the 30 per cent premium rebate, entirely, or subsidise the private sector as a genuine alternative to Medicare. While not explicitly taking a position, the report’s arguments were weighted towards abolishing government subsidies.”

Which is all well and good, but it sounds an awful lot like the fox investigating the chicken coop, and very much looks like the Australian taxpayer is set to endure yet another reverse. In plain English, it sounds an awful lot like protecting the profits (and personal wealth) of companies like NIB, and men like Fitzgibbon. Instead of making cover cheaper, they’re tearing down what has worked since time immemorial.

JP Morgan analyst Siddharth Parameswaran believes that”If nothing changes, it will probably get tougher for private health insurers. I think the whole industry would like to see some action taken to improve (the) sustainability of the system,” he said.

How about we try the opposite? How about we end government subsidies for private health businesses? How about we scrap private health cover entirely, and levy the populace to fund it. How about free health for all, not state-sponsored private health care that succeeds in only making the rich richer?

As for official tones of resistance, Chris Bowen, the Shadow Minister of Health is silent with no reference on either his official page or Twitter profile. The same goes for Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese. Medicare, of course, was the invention of their golden god, Bob Hawke. It should remain one of the proudest tenets of their party.

It should be something they should defend to the bitter end.

To that end, Wayne Swan, Labor’s ex-Deputy PM has spoken and should be the tone that others now follow.




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