I do not necessarily subscribe to the view that Australia’s Health system, public or private, is the complete mess that some Opposition politicians seek to have us believe. For many years I was not insured because I thought I was bullet proof. When the opportunity arose to be insured as though I was aged 30, as opposed to paying a 68% extra premium, I believed that the scales had been tipped in my favour.

When I had a brush with mortality last year and spent a week in Intensive care at a public hospital I saw at very close quarters how good our public health system can be.

Have you gone this far into the tax year (only 35 days to go) without private health cover for hospital expenses? If so you are certainly “self insured” and in my case this situation worked to my advantage for about 40 years.

However if this condition is matched with a single person taxable income of $50,000 or a married person’s family income of $100,000 there is very little you can do now to avoid the extra 1% medicare surcharge that you will cop. This presents a very clear option – pay $1000 plus to the Tax office and have no health cover or get an effective $1000 discount from the Health Fund.

There is very little you can do right now about the 2002/2003 tax year and you can no longer be charged as a 30 year old if you were born before 1973. However the arithmetic is very compelling to do something that will be effective in the 2003/2004 tax year.

It seems a very easy choice to me. Pay $1000 to the Tax Office or get a $1000 “discount” from a Health Fund. That “discount” rises by $1 for every $100 that income goes over the threshold.

So does the tax.