Here’s the update to the piece below, the delay in the posting of which belongs to me and not to my no longer “Secret Connection” Down Under, Fr. David Smith. You’d do yourself a favor to check out his website at www.fatherdave.org, as well as his group of boxing Anglican priests (and others), here. He’s an extraordinary activist who’s also entertaining while being thought-provoking.
In short, Australia is way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to health care. While some Aussies are losing patience with Kevin Rudd’s lack of leadership to reform the system there, the system there is already universal. No one there has to worry about going bankrupt or becoming homeless due to medical costs. How civilized is that? Father Dave had some major health concerns himself last year and said worry about money was never part of the picture. Imagine that.
As someone with a doctorate in psychology, I can state with a high degree of clinical certainty that people who are recovering from major illnesses and surgeries will have faster recoveries and fewer complications, generally speaking, than people who are dogged by money worries while they are recovering. What that means is they incur fewer medical expenses than people who do have money worries because of medical expenses. Will we ever bring reason to bear on health care in this country?
Here’s the original post:
Oh, would that I were getting on a plane to actually fly to Australia! Alas, this is instead a revisiting of the subject of Australia and its bureaucracies. In some of my posts from many months ago, I looked a little at Australia’s election of Kevin Rudd, a long-time bureaucrat, and speculated–or maybe fantasized–that he might be able to inject a large dose of reason and professional practice into Australia’s bureaucracies.
I decided it was time to check in on the situation Down Under and see how it’s going. I came across this article by Gary Sauer-Thompson about the politics and problems achieving health care reform there. Many similarities with what’s happening here with health care reform. No matter what reason and sound medical practice may dictate, there are irrational politics to deal with. Early in his piece Sauer-Thompson cites this article by Ross Gittins at the Sydney Morning Herald. (And I cited Gittens in this post in May 2008.) Gittins posits that the Rudd agenda suffers from lack of prioritization. Be that as it may, health care reform is encountering huge hurdles in the U.S. even though President Obama has made it a top priority.
I really haven’t read enough to offer any cogent analysis at this point, but I’ll do a bit more digging (I have a ‘secret’ connection in Oz) and perhaps have some analysis later. My guess, regardless of the reasons for the problems one country to another, is that both are better off under current leadership than under previous leadership. That’s not to make room for anyone to rest on his laurels, just acknowledging that we’re all still ahead of the game compared to a couple of years ago.