My better half had to go off for surgery today, and as much as I wont share the gory details (she’d kill me if I did), after spending a very, very long 13 hours in our local private hospital it really allowed me to once again appreciate the wonderful benefit of having private health insurance in Australia. There’s been 3 other times in my life I’ve also had a similar realisation: at 15 when I had all my wisdom teeth out, when my son was born, and later when he required grommets in his ears. For all the expense it really is worth every cent. It’s not really that expensive given the advantages it gives. Sure, my son could have been born in a public hospital, but the other 3 operations would have all entailed massive waiting lists and waits for treatment. My better half today had her own room, with TV and 3 in house movie channels, a menu with a choice of meals 3 times a day that would work in a restaurant, and the operation that in the public system she would have waited at least 18 months for.
But I’m not knocking the Australian public hospital system completely, because it is nice to know that if things were to turn downwards and we couldn’t afford private cover that we could (eventually) go to a public hospital and be treated for free. My friend Findlay Osborn told me last year after a visit to the US that people had said to him that Australia was a “socialist” country and cited our public hospital system as proof. Now I’m certainly no friend of socialism but I don’t believe a wealthy first world country should deny its citizens the right to hospital treatment if and when required because they cant afford it. In Australia, despite the waiting lists, the system does work very well. I’d hate to see us become like the United States where people die because they cant afford treatment……jeez, I sound a bit bleeding heart now I know, but life is important afterall.