Political acceptance is very high. The conservatives have (totally) made their peace with the system as proposing to remove it is electoral suicide. The support of the populace is almost total.
There is so much misinformation floating around about the satisfaction with health care in U.K., Canada, France, Australia, etc. When I talk to people I know who live in those places or are from there, I hear a much different story than what we hear in our own media.
I don’t know a lot of Australians, just a handful. But those I know say they are definitely happy with both the health care they receive and the cost to them. One of them posted a link to this TPM article that provides a pretty good explanation of how the system works. What I wonder is why are we trying to re-invent the wheel? The U.K. has been at this for 60 years, Australia over 20. Why don’t we study their plans carefully and see what works, what doesn’t, and learn from their experience?
I know the answer: we are so caught up in the politics of it, we can’t get down to practical matters.
I hope you’ll read the entire article as it’s very informative.
The way I think about it is that the US has a fundamentally broken market system. We know it is fundamentally broken because it costs a lot and produces fairly poor outcomes in aggregate. Stories about failure of insurance companies to honour their promises are legion. Many people have conditions that make them uninsurable. America spends a greater proportion of GDP on health (and greater dollars) for worse outcomes almost no matter how you measure it. If you do not agree with that statement you simply refuse to acknowledge clear facts on the ground. Health coverage is one of the major issues for middle America and many are unsatisfied. By contrast political and general population satisfaction with the Australian system is high and has by-and-large been rising.
Australia has a system whereby primary medical care (general practice doctors), much specialist health care (for example a cardiologist) and almost all important pharmaceuticals are covered by the government but with a copayment by patient. Most the copayments are large enough to be annoying (the service is not free) but do not cover anything like the costs. The copayments differ sometimes due to your income status. For instance most people have a copayment for pharmaceuticals of about $20 – but for (low income) pensioners the copayment is $5.
There are also government run public hospitals – run by State Governments – but where the funding almost entirely ultimately comes from the Federal Government through transfer payments to the States. These hospitals have a public emergency room which rations via triage. [Turn up with a sprained ankle and you might wait twelve hours, turn up with chest pains and the waters part for you.]
[snip]Still – on most measures – the Australian system is a resounding success. The cost (proportion of GDP, dollars) is about half the USA – but the outcomes are better across the board. And that is not diet or lifestyle related. Australians are almost as fat as Americans.
Surprisingly the outcomes are as good or better for the rich too. The only exception is Australia’s chronically disadvantaged native (aboriginal) population.
The author of the article explains how the system is paid for as well as both pros and cons of the system. Bottom line is, health care is affordable and available to all, costs are controlled, and people have options with public and private health insurance both existing and working well together in the same system.