Healthcare has been reduced from needs to a choice of commodities

Contributed by Glen Davis

In the words of Margaret Thatcher; “and you know, there’s no such thing as society,” and doesn’t our contemporary world highlight this.

Over the last few decades capitalism has changed. Our leaders mirror Thatcher’s words. We are reduced to being in a market place, where we’re no longer people but customers. The sole nexus in human relationships is about cash exchange for personal gain.

With the introduction of the Purchaser-Provider split under the Kirner ALP Government in Victoria back in the 1990’s, the market based approach to the provision of health care sped along. This accentuated the increased commodifying of all around us.

People using health services are no longer called patients, let alone people. Instead, they’re loaded with titles reflecting the primary relationship, where all aspects of healthcare are reduced to commodities to be purchased. Customer, Client, Consumer, are terms used to describe those ‘purchasing’ these services.

Recent changes in how Aged Care services are funded, are a further ‘deform’ to healthcare changes. Instead of older people accessing their supports through established health networks, they’re now informed they have choices of who can deliver their care. Bureaucrats under both the ALP and LNP governments shave sung the same tune re choice. Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum.

Like the pink batts episode, where dodgy small business operators saw easy access to bucket loads of dollars, a whole lot of new private providers promising the world popped up. These parasites know how to rort the dollars when they can. Older people are offered levels of care they can’t actually afford, are promised fast tracking through the system that won’t happen, being  targeted by these unscrupulous operators.

Renata Saleci speaks of the tyranny of choice, (rates of anxiety in Australia). It is estimated over two million Australians or 14.4 percent of us, suffer from anxiety, our most prevalent mental health disorder. She speaks of increased choice being a contributing factor to the levels of anxiety.

Renata speaks about the mantra of choice being a cause of discontent; about making a choice, then being dissatisfied it is the wrong choice. But how do we make a correct/better choice?

Age Care, all healthcare, is not simply a product you choose to buy. It’s about being able to live our lives to the fullest. Isn’t it time where we moved beyond a world of making vacuous choices to a world where our needs are the priority?


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