In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place.

In this week's article, Jacob Andrewartha argues for universal quality healthcare for all.

* * *

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”.

On the day Tony Abbott was rolled, one of my family members, who lives in Malcolm Turnbull's electorate of Wentworth, posted a one line warning on Facebook: "Beware the silver fox." Well, it proved true remarkably quickly.

A concerted attack on Medicare is in full swing and it has one clear objective: dismantling public health care and replacing it with a US-style privatised system that costs more, delivers inferior outcomes and leaves the poorest to die.

"The Malcolm Turnbull government's proposal to privatise the Medicare payment system is a slippery slope to selling off the whole of Medicare," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal elections, said on February 24.

"The Socialist Alliance strongly opposes any privatisation of our public health system, as well as any further pathology cuts, co-payments or attacks on our public hospitals."

Protestors took to the streets around Australia on February 20 against the federal government's proposed cuts to health care in #TheseCutsAreKillingUs rallies.

Protesters in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth came out to defend Medicare and to oppose government plans to charge for previously free pathology tests. This could lead to doctors having to charge at least $30 for blood tests, MRIs, X-rays, pap smears, urine tests, ultrasounds and more.

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull have delivered a budget for the billionaires. They claim that opposition to their tax cuts for the rich is “class warfare”. But the truth is that they are the ones waging naked war against the ordinary people of Australia.

People earning less than $80,000 — the large majority — get absolutely nothing from this budget. The top 10% of taxpayers get three quarters of the benefits while the top 1% get almost half (47%) of the tax cuts.

The odious Peter Dutton, minister for torturing refugees, has plumbed new depths in responding to a Greens proposal to increase Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 50,000.

"They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English," Dutton said. "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that.

"For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there's no sense in sugar-coating that, that's the scenario."

"The Coalition government's plan is not only to privatise Medicare, but to destroy it as a universal, national healthcare system," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, said on July 1. "The plan is based on a form of 'creeping privatisation,' together with undermining its coverage of the majority of community health services around the country."

Terry Barnes, a former adviser to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is credited with coming up with the bright idea of introducing a $6 payment when people visit their GP.

After Barnes left the prime minister’s employ, he wrote a submission to the government’s Commission of Audit on behalf of the Australian Centre for Health Research, a right-wing think-tank set up by a private health insurer, proposing the extra charge for GP visits. He claimed that it would save $750 million over four years.

"This country can afford a universal healthcare system that provides access to quality health care for everyone," Judith Kiejda, assistant general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSW NMWA), told a forum at the University of Technology Sydney on May 27.

The forum, organised by the Save Medicare Campaign, heard Kiejda and Professor Bill Mitchell, director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) at Newcastle University, addressed the topic, "No to Abbott-Care. Hands Off Medicare."

Medicare is 30 years old and is the scheme that publicly funds Australia’s universal health care system. Medicare has always generated political conflict. From 1972 to 1984 Australia became the first developed country to introduce a universal health care system (under Gough Whitlam), then discard it (under Malcolm Fraser).

In those 12 years Australia tried, on five separate occasions, to balance public and private insurance schemes. Finally, in 1984, the Bob Hawke government reintroduced a universal health care system, Medicare.


Subscribe to Medicare