I’m happy to plead ignorance on the specifics, but there is certainly a reputation out there that a visit to a USA emergency room can be financially devastating.

Can be, they’re expensive as hell. And if you can pay for it, you’ll be asked for pay for it. And pay a lot.

My point is that the uninsured are covered if they have to go to the ER, and obviously, so are the insured, although insurance varies broadly as to what is covered. We have a policy that causes people’s jaw to drop when they hear how comprehensive it is in coverage, and going to the ER will still cost us a grand, minimum, just to walk through the door.

So I’m happy to be corrected, but that’s certainly the perception out there.

Without objection. Our model is not great, but it’s still a model which covers those without the ability to pay.

On the other hand, in Australia you can show up to a public hospital casualty room and you are treated free of charge, full stop. There are no circumstances under which you can end up on the hook for debt just for seeking diagnosis and treatment.

Well, you pay for it in taxes, of course. :-).

You might expect that this would lead to people showing up to hospital emergency for anything and everything, and to an extent that is true. However, the existence of multi-hour waiting times for less severe conditions becomes a natural curb on abuse of the system — since people have to decide whether to sacrifice their time to access that free care.

That leads me to think wonder if the Aussie govt isn’t “throttling” the number of care centers. If there are multi-hour lines at any service, AND it is demonstrated that people are just not getting the service because of the wait, THEN that is a great business opportunity for somebody to hop in and exploit. If nobody in Oz is doing that……..sounds like Oz doesn’t just let any doctor open up whatever clinic they want when they want to open it up.

See for me, charity reinforces a social power imbalance that the allocation of money through government redistribution does not. You know … “You better be grateful, and don’t forget who the nice person was who gave you that money! And FYI, I could stop giving you that money any time if I felt like it!”

Certainly that happens in the case of political donations. When it comes to social charity……sure, if an inordinate amount of your money comes from one individual, they have some influence over its disbursement. Happens everywhere. Certainly you’ve had rich Australians give money to a University with stipulations on how it is to be sued.

But in general, our large charities (Red Cross, Salvation Army) are SO large that it would be difficult for one particular donor to influence them much. I don’t see that sort of dynamic played out in the charitable world here, probably because that charitable world is so large.

Accepting or needing charity rubs a lot of Australians the wrong way since we have a pretty egalitarian, anti-class attitude on most things. Yet oddly enough, despite being suspicious of authority we are not anti-government.

Yes, it’s a bit of a contradition, I agree. Aussies pay a very high tax rate (which implies government trust) but also have enough of a rough-edge independent culture which looks a little like US Cowboy Culture (and even contributes famous country singers to the US.) :-)

I’m not even sure what point I am trying to make. Just illustrating how different cultural backgrounds lead to different value judgments I suppose.


I hope the USA does find a universal health option which works, Singaporean model or otherwise. Life’s too short to spend worrying about getting sick!

Well…most of us don’t. 90% of us have some sort of insurance coverage, and most of those who don’t have made a decision to not have it. One of the problems with implementing any system here is that is that for many of us, the government will provide a level of coverage that is inferior to what we currently enjoy, and we want to maintain that level of coverage — — even if we have to pay a bit more for it.

Free markets, free minds. Question all narratives. If you think one political party is right and the other party is evil, the problem with our politics is you.