Proponents of a private health care market often promoting compulsory private health insurance as some form of free market solution. It would only be a free market solution if you were free to go without insurance. Given an end to public health care I would not willingly take our private health insurance. It is a rip off and I’d rather pay my own way. I’m also unconvinced that making us pay for private health care via compulsory health insurance is hugely different from making us pay for public health care via compulsory taxation. The choice between compulsory private insurance and compulsory public insurance is only a marginal improvement.
The Rudd government has been criticised for lifting the threshold at which the tax system essentially compels private health insurance via the medicare surcharge. However if anybody really needs health insurance it is not high income earners. My family has been paying private health insurance for years but we still always use the public system and we always fib so that we get admitted as public patients. We do occassionally use private services (including a rather expensive private heart specialist) however these are still costs we could pay for ourselves. Rudd should not have just lifted the threshold at which the medicare surcharge applies, he should have abolished it outright.
If we must mandate a method of payment for healthcare under a system with less public sector provision then we should use some methodology similar to HECS. And yes I know that I’m guilty of repetition having essentially said this all before.