In 2004, I’d just finished a novel and by way of celebration had taken my family for an extended visit to Australia, where I was born and raised.

I didn’t expect that trip to save my life. But I’m convinced it did, because of Australia’s “socialized” medicine…

Two weeks later, I was in a Sydney hospital, discussing treatment options for my invasive stage II cancer. According to testimony by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) at last Thursday’s health-care summit, I should have been heading for the airport at that point. Like his unnamed Canadian state premier with the heart condition, I should have been hightailing it to the U.S., to avail myself of “the best health care in the world.”

No thanks, Senator. I elected to stay in Australia. We had ample U.S. insurance; cost wasn’t an issue. I simply wanted to remain in a humane, rational system where doctors treat a person as a patient, not a potential plaintiff, and where the procedures ordered for me were the ones shown by hard science to produce the best outcome for the most people.

Australia adopted universal health care in 1984. Since then, life expectancy for women has increased to 83.5 years from 78.7 (for males to 79.1 from 72.6), while spending on health care has risen less than 1 percent, to 4.4 percent of government outlays (in 2008-09). The scheme is funded by a levy of 1.5 percent on taxable income, and all political parties, even the most conservative, support it.

RTFA. Try it! It won’t harm you.

Geraldine Brooks suggests, you might pass this along to a Republican or some other reactionary.

Thanks, honeyman




  1. Somebody says:

    95% of blog readers are more impressed by statistics than they should be.

  2. Somebody says:

    The reason she was cured was her doctor knew what he was doing. That his fee was extracted at gun-point from some passer-by had nothing to do with it.

  3. Somebody says:

    You can’t reasonably expect “Socialized Medicine” from a bunch of Fascist lackeys. The best you can hope for is a bill from a bunch of pols on the take that forces healthy young people to buy insurance and allows care to be denied to old people for the express purpose of protecting corporate profits.

    You should be able to see that for yourself if you are paying attention.

  4. Somebody says:

    If you are stupid enough to submit yourselves and your children to a “health care system” that the ruling class exempts themselves from, then you are proving that you are the mere livestock that your owners have presumed you to be.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We don’t trust the government. I hear this statement over and over. All of the sudden, we trust the government with our health care. That is my main concern. I’m also worried about how much lazier America will get than we already are. Technology (I love it) has made a majority of things so easy for us that we are able to stay fat and hermit in our lifestyles. We have so many resources to be habitual drug users, obese, homicidal maniacs, etc. that it makes me wonder how packed our hospitals would personally be due to our life choices, not the curve balls thrown at us in life.

  6. Dustin Breiter says:

    Actually, this article is a little misleading. The government of Australia has publicly stated that it’s Universal health Care does not include non citizens, no matter who they are, or how long their stay in the country. Therefore, what saved this author wasn’t the fact that they have universal healthcare, but the fact that she grew up in Australia, and retained her citizenship. If she hadn’t, she would have to either go to America, or die in Australia.