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. BmoreBadBoy says:

    #80 amode – I’m sure it can be done. Only problem is governments are horribly inefficient and spend way too much money because there is no market feed back on their operations. Only a government can rack up the deficits the US government has right now. Any business that tried to do that would be bankrupt and looking for a bailout right now. It’s like if my wife asked me to buy a toyota camry, and I went out and bought one for $90,000. Yes, it got done, but we are going to be in some serious financial trouble as a family. I fear the same for socialized medicine in the US. It might turn out great at first, but there are already record breaking deficits, what’s going to happen once those debts have to start getting paid?

  2. Nitroneo says:

    Look its very simple. Nationalized Health care in the US is unconstitutional. Congress will be stepping out of the bounds allowed. We have allowed congress to overstep their bounds far too often already, its time to put a stop to it for the REAL better benefit to society. Keep Freedom in the USA!

  3. MalaySwimmer says:

    #75 BmoreBadBoy -What I meant to say was, if australia’s so great, why don’t you move over there?

    if by ‘you’ you mean me, i’ve been to australia and felt there were entirely too many australians there. i’ll stay here in belize, thank you.

  4. amodedoma says:

    #81 BBB

    Yeah OK, I get it. You’re one of the lucky ones that’s got a good job, good insurance, and good health, and the only thing you’re really worried about is having to pay more taxes and make a sacrifice in your lifestyle. You’re living in a dream world if you think it doesn’t affect you. Good job, health, and luck are temporary. Tomorrow they might find a melanoma, you might lose your job, a lot can go wrong, as soon as your insurance company finds themselves paying out instead of receiving they’ll be looking for ways to not pay. But go ahead and repeat the conservative dogma like a ninny. I’ve moved to a country with social medicine and even if I were a bum on the street I could get to see a doctor. Knock on wood, I’m pretty lucky myself, but who knows, I too could lose it all tomorrow, all but my right to medical attention.

  5. MikeN says:

    If Obama had been willing to make a few concessions, he would have had about half a dozen Republican votes, and could have passed a bill without surrendering to Joe LIeberman, no Louisiana Purchase, no Cornhusker Kickback, no nominating a Utah Democrat’s brother to a federal judgeship the same day this Congressman is in the White House to discuss his health care vote. Obama was not willing to go against his trial lawyer backers and put tort reform in the bill. He supported his union friends and took away the tax on Cadillac health insurance plans. Chuck Grassley’s part of the process disappeared.

  6. MikeN says:

    “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.”

    Nancy Pelosi

  7. derspankster says:

    I have decent health insurance. My wife was a government employee for 30 years and we use what’s eligible for. I worked in the private sector and my company offers just about nothing to it’s retirees.

    So, I’m good to go for now and in a few more year’s will be using that “socialist” Medicare.

    If I had the same mindset that many have posted here I’d just say fuck the rest of those that either can’t afford it or have some pre-existing condition that makes them ineligible for insurance.

    By the way, I did a quick check of what it would cost my wife and I for health insurance out of pocket. 13-16k per year with hefty deductibles.

  8. BmoreBadBoy says:

    #83 Malay – Nice. I have a friend from Belize.

    #84 ADD – I get it also. You refuse to look at it from a fiscal standpoint. It would be great if the government could give everybody a job, car, healthcare, food, shelter, etc. Unfortunately, government is too corrupt and too inefficient. Money stolen from the taxpayer at gunpoint is misdirected into the pockets of corrupt politicians and their backers and the endless bureaucracy wastes even more. That’s why the US is up to its eyeballs in debt. And what’s the solution? Give it more control so it can get into more debt.

    I do believe I’m affected otherwise why would I be concerned enough to write about it? And I want to pay less taxes, like zero. And I don’t want to sacrifice my lifestyle to improve the lifestyles of those in power and their backers! And I’d rather rely on my ability to make decisions instead of entrusting politicians with them like you have. And I’m no conservative either. Conservatives today are just Liberals from a decade or 2 ago. (For example, conservatives from the New Deal era opposed programs such as Social Security and Medicare, but they will blast you on Fox News today if you try to touch it.)

    Government can go into debt and not satisfy the customer. Businesses can’t. In a truly free market, as many people as possible would receive the best healthcare possible because of competition, without having to become slaves to government masters.

  9. MikeN says:

    #87, are you still banned from paying doctors extra for treatments not covered by Medicare, if those doctors take Medicare patients?

  10. Somebody says:

    “If Obama is trying to destroy the constitution he is just following in the steps of the guys who had the job before he did.”

    Hold that thought.

  11. Somebody says:

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.