We see and hear a lot in the media about the so called mess that Australia’s health system is in. This of course leads to the immediate call for the Government to “do something”.

(I’m not sure that it is in such a mess comparatively speaking. I was recently told by a doctor that one of his English colleagues expressed the view that if he became sick he would come to Australia for treatment.)

Whenever the Government is asked to pay for something the effect of this payment is felt in the national accounts and very soon that is reflected in the tax system. We already have this with the medicare levy which catches the vast majority of Australian taxpayers for 1.5% of their taxable income and as well the 1% surcharge for people who earn over $50,000 and who are not insured. This is a case of history repeating itself because the original medicare levy of the Whitlam era was only applied against taxpayers who were not members of private Health funds.

As someone whose average annual expenditure at the doctor for myself during 40 years of adulthood was about $10 I can understand why many people elect not to insure themselves. Like me they believe they are bullet proof. (I hope they don’t find out like me that they are not!)

If taxpayers elect NOT to be in a health fund they should at least ensure that they set up an emergency fund to meet all their medical expenses. Additions to this fund should match the charges made by MBF and of course their medical expenses should come from the fund. At the end of 20 or 30 years the balance in the fund, if any, will determine whether their judgment was right.

One of my friends had a $30,000 operation a year ago. That would make a big hole in anyone’s budget.