Why would universal healthcare stop people from still paying for private insurance if they wanted “better” healthcare? (USA)?

Answered Mar 6, 2019

It wouldn’t stop people from buying private insurance.

Here in New Zealand, every citizen and permanent resident can access the public health system. This means that, you can see a specialist, or have procedures, at a public hospital, without paying.

Note that word, “specialist”. If you just go to your regular GP for something minor, or for maintenance medication (blood pressure, etc), there is a fee (although it is subsidised).

One issue that can be either acute or chronic is medications that aren’t fully covered by Pharmac (the NZ government drug subsidy agency). This can include lifetime maintenance medications, with a three-monthly cost that is significantly higher than the basic $5 fee for fully-covered items. And can also include things like astronomically expensive cancer drugs.

Another big problem is waiting lists. Someone with whom I was acquainted had a choice of either paying $290 for a scan the next day privately, or waiting 3 months for “free” examination at a public hospital. Having no money, and no insurance, she waited, and her condition got worse.

Another person with whom I was acquainted spent over a year on a waiting list for a surgery that really improved her life. I suspect that she may have actually been kicked off the waiting list, and been re-added manually by her doctor. The government likes to kick people off, and tell them that they aren’t sick enough, so to make the waiting lists look shorter and more efficient.

There have been cases of, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, where it was necessary for patients to personally start hassling their District Health Board, in order to avoid just being lost in the system.

Some people seem to think this is about having some kind of luxury hotel suite. But this is also about getting serious health problems dealt with in a decent timeframe, before they deteriorate, and threaten the person’s lifespan.

What is your opinion on Massey University banning Don Brash from speaking on any of their campuses?

Answered Sep 21

There is a distraction from the university’s real issues, and a couple of over-reactions.

First, while I don’t agree with some of Mr. Brash’s opinions, I also believe that expressions and debate (especially from people with public, economic, or governmental influence) should be out in the open. Even if someone is misogynistic or racist, there is a saying that, the best disinfectant is sunshine.

Second, there was allegedly a threat regarding security and safety. Probably from some stupid person, but the rest of the students and the staff should not have to tolerate that.

Third, most of these younger students (in their late teens or early 20s) probably have zero clue about politics, and don’t care, and haven’t heard about any alleged controversy. They may be nice people, but often not well informed at that stage of life.

Fourth, Massey has much more important issues with the current Vice-Chancellor which are larger scale than this, and which involve a financial “reorganisation”. This has concerned students and staff. There have been concerns raised on how people are treated, and how their jobs and academic work are threatened. There is concern of short-term financial numbers leading to long-term derailment.

This includes individuals whom I personally know and respect.

The Brash thing is irrelevant.