How Medicare-For-All Works In Australia

How Medicare-For-All Works In Australia

The 2020 Democratic primaries are in
full swing as the candidates argue over the best way to approach policy. One of the biggest policy divides? The role of private health insurance. We have got to pass a
Medicare for all single payer system. Private insurance is not working for
tens of millions of Americans. The quickest, fastest way to do
it is build on Obamacare. Many countries around the world
provide government funded universal health care while offering
secondary private insurance. One country that’s
frequently overlooked? Australia. So how well does Australia’s
system work compared to U.S. health care? In 2017, Australia’s estimated
to have spent 9.2 percent of its GDP on
health care, while the U.S. spent nearly twice that at 17.1 e percent. In other words, Australia spends about $5000
USD per person while the U.S. spends over $10000. Despite spending about
half the money. Australia has better or comparable
health outcomes to the US. The average life expectancy in Australia is
four years higher than the US and Australia’s infant mortality
rate is lower. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in
America is nearly five times higher than in Australia. Australia’s health-care system is sustained
by a publicly funded universal health insurance network
called Medicare. Australians can also purchase private
health insurance to cover hospital treatments or services that Medicare doesn’t
cover, such as dental or vision. But private insurance in
Australia isn’t meant to replace Medicare. I think it’s a bit of a given that
if you make above a certain amount, you just have to kind of hold
your nose and buy in. That’s Dr Elizabeth Bates. She’s an American who now lives
and works in Tasmania, Australia. She did her medical
training in both countries. For full disclosure, Dr Bates
husband worked with the Australian government to help digitize
citizen’s health records. I hear more from people that are going
through the public system a bit of, ‘Well, even if I’m not a
private patient, dot, dot, dot.’ So there’s always that fear I think
that people won’t be treated as well, which I don’t think really plays out. Most Australians with private insurance
receive a government rebate to help cover their monthly premiums. Also, if Australians purchase hospital
coverage before age 31, they avoid an extra charge on private insurance
premiums for the rest of their lives. Under Australian Medicare, doctors can
set their own prices. However, many follow the Australian
Medical Association’s list of suggested fees if a doctor charges
more than the Medicare standard fee. The patient is responsible
for the difference. These out-of-pocket costs are known as a
medical gap similar to a copay in the U.S.. So how does this health-care scheme
stack up against the U.S. when it comes to the chronically ill
patients who use the system the most? Kresenda Keith, an American citizen,
and Kirsty Wilkinson in Australia, both live with a rare condition
called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is also known by its initials, EDS. The symptoms can vary in severity
depending on the individual, making it difficult to characterize. It’s a continuum. Some people have it to where it
doesn’t affect their day to day life. And some people I
know are completely bedridden. Kresenda has changed insurance statuses several times
over the years, going from private insurance that offered comprehensive
coverage to no insurance to the government funded system for
low income Americans called Medicaid. Going through with the private
insurers, it was incredibly easy to get something as simple as a geneticist
to diagnose me as opposed to a primary care doctor and a
rheumatologist, which was amazing. And it actually because I had racked up
so many bills trying to figure out what was going on, that the geneticist,
I had no copay, no nothing. But Kresenda ended up going from
having private insurance to having none at all. To go from that to having nothing is shocking. I did better
waiting until I was so sick that they had to admit
me to the hospital and seeing the specialists in there and just
racking up those bills, which the hospital ends up
writing off anyway. After a few years of being uninsured,
Kresenda was able to get on Medicaid after a long process with
a lot of bureaucratic hiccups. Finally, recently I was approved for
Medicaid, which I thought was gonna be the best thing ever. But that opens the door to primary
care and opens the door to specialists. The specialists are not even in the area. You give me an hour
drive to get to a doctor? That’s absolutely inaccessible. And at this point you’re kind of like,
well, I wish I just had no insurance. Because that little
aspect of hope is sometimes worse than accepting
the fact that you have no hope. We’re looking
into filing bankruptcy because a lot of the medical bills, even though
I was low income, for some reason, they fell in the collection,
even though I’ve contacted people, even some of the medical bills from when
I had good insurance where I was supposed to have no copay
are now in collections. I didn’t know about them
and I was moving. By comparison, Kirsty’s insurance coverage
has been more consistent over her lifetime. She chose to buy
private insurance to help cover her expenses. She thinks that investing in
private insurance in Australia is worth the extra cost for
convenience and peace of mind. For me, while I’m in
private, you get a choice of doctors when you have treatment, which
is a big plus, because in the public
system, you can be waiting months. If didn’t have private
cover, I think I’d be up for a lot, a lot more. Because what some people say is that
you should just put the money aside. But the thing is, you don’t
know what’s around the corner. I’m a huge fan of
universal health care coverage, but nothing in this world is perfect. If somebody has got an acute problem
here, they can get in very quickly. But if it’s just sort of that
just-in-case safety check, there’s a very long way through the public system. And that makes me nervous because we
know the reason we do universal screening is somebody out there is going
to have a cancer sitting there quietly. And I would really like them to
find that out before it causes a problem and spreads. Kirsty finds that while her costs may
vary depending on her physician and treatment, some of her doctors take
into consideration that she’s a long term patient on
government disability. Because I’m on the disability support pension
and the hospital I go to, generally, they actually bulk bill. And the clinic I go to for
my MRIs on my knee, for example, they actually bulk bill because
I’m referred by a specialist. It really depends on I think
your doctors in terms of how much how much they charge you. I mean there are doctors out there
who charge a lot more than others. Americans and Australians tend to have
many of the same opinions surrounding the effectiveness of
their health-care systems. Around 45 percent of people in
both countries are concerned that their medical costs will increase
over the next decade. There are some differences, though. While both Australians and Americans rank
the cost of accessing treatment among the top three problems
facing their country’s health-care system, only 38 percent of Australians felt that
way, as opposed to 64 percent of Americans. Australians were evenly split on the
biggest issue between cost staff shortages, wait times and
an aging population. A big difference between the countries
is that only 4 percent of Australians feel that their country’s
health-care system needs to be completely rebuilt, while about 23
percent of Americans feel that way. Kresenda and Kirsty’s experiences show
that both the American and Australian systems have their problems,
but the Australian system does offer more consistency thanks
to basic universal coverage. I think, you know, we’re really lucky
to have this system we have in Australia. I think Medicare
does make it, even though you might only get half
back, whatever, when you’re seeing doctors, at least you get something back.

Author: Kevin Mason

100 thoughts on “How Medicare-For-All Works In Australia

  1. The American healthcare system will never change and will continue to degrade. Very happy that I have my excellent coverage. The insurance system here is all about providing coverage, if you can afford it, but the system for the most part is not about providing healthcare to its customers. Profits first as always.

  2. I’m confused, do they pay for meds? And dental? if you have no insurance, you still have Medicare paying you back portions of what you pay out right?

  3. Here in New Zealand, we have both a free public universal healthcare system, whilst also having a private health insurance option (mainly to skip wait lists and cover things that the public healthcare won't cover). That said, I'm also planning to buy private insurance as well once I start earning more.

  4. 33% luxury car tax on cars above $67000aud + 2% Medicare levy on your income funds free heath for lower class , it isn't free for middle class why it shrinks 30 yrs

  5. Care is excellent and quick in australia if it needs urgent attention through public hospital/health networks.

    But if you have a chronic condition that is stable but you are suffering, you could wait many months (sometimes over a year) for specialist medical care through the public system. But this varies geographically, wealthier areas tend to be serviced better because politics.

    This long wait time for often painful, but not dangerous ailments is a big driver in people accessing private system, either through paying out of pocket or private insurance. The wait times here are much shorter.

    In my experience the public service is often demonised for its long wait times. It does leave people suffering for too long and I'd love to see that addressed. But for urgent and semi urgent care it's fantastic, I'm really proud of it – it's just under resourced, but it could scale up very well.

  6. Still we have Americans complaining about social medicine while they go bankrupt trying to pay their medical bill. How funny is that? 😂😂

  7. Here we go again CNBC trashing the United States healthcare system again and the way they do it is bring in some people with pre-existing conditions and then proclaim hey we should be like this socialist country! except the country changes every 4-5years "Because they always fail and slowly become unsustainable with the government rationing healthcare always" just take a look at the last 3-4 CNBC healthcare videos where they went from United Kingdom to Canada to France and now Australia….

  8. I really like our (Australian) system! As a uni student, I’ve never had to pay for a doctor and have even had dental covered. I do plan on purchasing private health insurance when I begin full-time work, for the peace of mind and faster access to preferred medical practitioners.

  9. Healthcare in Australia is a joke. PAYING for healthcare? Ridiculous. Paying through taxes is the only sensible way. Nobody should even think about money when it comes to their health. Insurance, when it comes to healthcare, is offensive.

  10. No mention of the PBS, or the Medicare levy, or public hospitals?

    It's not perfect, but it seems to work better than the US system.

  11. Here is Australia the private health care industry is at odds with the public system, the government is constantly legislativley trying to make more people buy into private insurance they should not need.

    Rather then properly funding public hospitals private organisations recieve massive incentives to build private facilities where the overflow from the public system ends up going and costing the tax payer much more at the end of the day.

    Not only that but John Howard Australia's worst prime minister encouraged more well off people to avoid paying tax for medicare if they have purchased private insurance, even though this weakens the public system and drives up the price for everyone…

  12. This was a very poorly structured comparison study. In Australia, our population is roughly 25,500,000 whilst the America population is roughly 327,200,000. The factors that govern our health care are vastly different. Our taxation system and entitlements are not comparable to the US and we consider health care to be a right not privilege. We pay far less for pharmacy and if you end up in emergency, you will be treated at no cost, regardless of whether you have private insurance or not. Most General practitioners bulk bill and there are limits on what you would be expected to pay as out of pocket expenses, in a calendar year. Chronic illness is managed very well and you won't need to declare bankruptcy. The American system, does not really have any counterpart in other developed nations as it does not consider health care to be a right and there is no oversight on what can be charged.

  13. Great to live in Australia . Not had health insurance but depending where you live access and cost is great . I'm happy to take the hit when tax time comes around as private health insurance cost so much more . Private health insurance membership is also declining due to them over pricing . Change is on its way so hopefully it will become viable for alot more people and take the pressure off the public health care system 🤔

  14. Of course this is CNBC. They want to prop up private insurance and cherry pick specific examples and make private insurance look good. You can find thousands of horror stories of private insurance in the US

  15. u need to try at least two healthcare systems to be aware of the problems. I have tried three. Still, the US system is the worst and most expensive system and I don’t even get a good treatment as people think. A lot of mistakes in treatments n billing.

  16. I am from Australia, the Australia medicare for all is a universal system, however it severely compromises on the quality of the care as it limits competition. If you really want the best healthcare, go private in the USA.

  17. The U.S. system is broken, but comparing someone from the U.S. who is on medicaid, vs someone in australia who has private insurance in order to show the need for universal healthcare in the U.S. is quite possibly the worst example one could think of.

  18. hmmmmm…. am i missing something here?….. Australia is a smaller country than US, so of course, Australia mortality rate will be lower.

  19. I love how the corporate media creates these videos proving Bernie Sanders right every time but always fight him tooth and nail to prevent real systematic change like having universal healthcare in America. Why? It’s because they want to be cheap scapes and refused to pay their fair share of taxes.

  20. Bernie makes it sound like the waiting lines don't exist but what can americans expect from the guy who said the breadlines in communist countries are a goodthing

  21. The problem is people’s illiteracy in economics. The reason healthcare is so expensive is because the supply of healthcare is limited. When government comes in and pays for healthcare costs, it boost the demand for healthcare. Because the supply is limited but the demand is constantly rising, prices will rise in an attempt to offset that demand. This is true of true for college tuition and home prices as well.

  22. I am an Australian and we are FORCED to purchase private health insurance (PHI) at the age of 31 other wise we get stung extra money (essentially this was to please the private health corporation companies donating to the government) however in the recent years people just drop the PHI as it has gone up 150% since 2013 and wages havent risen

  23. There is more than enough money, lots of government wastage. No more foreign aid, no more refugees, cut politicians and judiciary and senior public servants pensions and benefits, drug addicts not to be treated etc. Any honest non corrupt person could find billions of dollars to put into Medicare system. Also treating Australians overseas if they can do the operations cheaper. Lots of money can be saved.

  24. In all throughout Turkish hospitals , visiting medical doctors with specialties need to wait for couple of months because of reservations and free of charge standards. But visiting medical specialists' private clinics , patients can get their health problems solved in couple of days with the help of surgical issues included in private rooms in one of the public hospitals. My parents are both medical specialists from Hacettepe University Medicine Faculties.

  25. Australian here. We LOVE our Medicare system. Universal healthcare for all. This video didn’t mention our Pharmacuetical Benefits Scheme; where the government covers prescription drugs.

  26. This is useless. Anytime you use individuals with different levels of care in different circumstances. There will always be someone who says they get faster care with private insurance but that assumes that everyone can afford equal insurance coverage. How is this for an example; Canadians now earn more, have a better standard of living, live longer and that is before you figure in their universal health care. Oh yes I forgot…….they spend less on health care than we do too. The reason is that the healthcare industry doesn't financially support their politicians or should I say buy them?

  27. The American healthcare system is BS. Tell me, conservatives, is it right for people to suffer, declare bankruptcy, or even for die because they couldn't pay they medical bills? That is morally wrong!! If taxpayers pay for it and even if one life is saved, it'll all have been worth it

  28. US and Aus. populations differ, so comparisons of outcomes are meaningless. I'd like to know how the pay of medical professionals in two countries compare. But I think we can all make an educated guess.

  29. The American woman complaining about Medicaid and saying she’d rather be uninsured again is ungrateful. It depends on the state and where you live on provider access and distance but guess what? If you’re medically frail Medicaid pays for transportation to and from all medically necessary care including dental and vision if offered by your state’s Medicaid program. Very ungrateful

  30. So let me get this right: if you a poor in one of the richest countries in the world and can't afford 'insurance' you can go bankrupt if you need healthcare? Is this like real life Hunger Games?

  31. Our healthcare system only works because we have secure boarders and zero tolerance for illegal immigration. You can’t have one without the other. Build the wall.

  32. As an Australian who went to college in America and has had some experience with both systems. Australia's system is not perfect and those Australians with experiences in places like Europe which my family has had can tell you that we have reciprocal agreements with places like Europe. So when we travel to Europe or Europeans come here they don't necessarily need any more insurance than they already have FOR BASIC CARE. For specialist care you need to check. My families experience was my father had a heart attack while in Italy and the only thing the Italian hospital wanted was his Medicare number.
    In Australia Dr. Bates was right about 1 thing our waiting times in the public system CAN BE longer than we like. Notably for specialist treatment and what we call elective surgery – surgery you don't need to stay alive and can choose (elect) or not to have.
    Overall Australian's are not in the slightest bit interested in copying the American system just like everyone else. Ours might not be perfect, but we would not wish your system on our worst enemy, that would just be cruel.

  33. You cant argue that Australia has better health outcomes and live longer, and Americans pay double. This report didnt really go into the PBS scheme for cheap medications in Australia, most scripts are from $6.00 for most people.
    The American private health industry has done a good job of fearmongering, and American media doesnt call them out because US media makes billions from healthcare ads. The private health industry is one of the biggest advertisers on US television.

  34. An an Aussie I can verify this will never work in the USA. Americans are too stupid, selfish and have so little regard for their fellow human beings, they will never vote for half the cost and 5 times the outcomes.

  35. Healthcare in America is treated like a product or commodity.

    The "winners" in that system are people who have either of these factors or a combination of them: they are wealthy, work in careers that pay well and their employer offers good employee health benefits, in a good state of health and somehow never have anything bad happen to them that would require them to have expensive medical treatment.

  36. So Australia's Healthcare story is…….

    1. They have public universal healthcare……but it's failing to provide all the services that people need
    2. Australian Government mandates that everyone start getting private insurance to cover gap of services that public isn't able to provide in a timely manner.
    2. People in Australia get private insurance because it does actually provide them with better options to hospitals, specialists, food service, individual rooms.
    3. Universal-healthcare is meant to be preventative healthcare…..but never truly happens that way because they have too many people with too many problems and the public system is employing a triage method to address the demand.

    Seems like the real moral of the story is that Australia started with a Universal health care system that isn't working as fully intended, so now they are shifting healthcare more towards the center by employing more private insurance to cover the gap. Seems like a very similar story to Europe and the INVERTED story of the US. We in the US started more private and are slowly shifting to be more public……Guess it's going to be a balance of both private and public that ends up working in the end. Too bad most people can't see this based on the history and the trajectory of most all other countries healthcare systems. Especially since some candidates want to fully get rid of private insurance and do Universal only…….looks like reality shows that it's a balance of both that are need.

  37. So many people that commented to this video keep going on and on about Australia's Universal healthcare system, but seem to completely ignore the fact that Australia still has a private insurance mandate too. It's no wonder why…. the video glossed over it pretty quickly.

  38. They don't cover the additional taxes that Australians pay for the coverage. They also don't cover the fact that the US govt is not allowed to negotiate prices with the Medical industry for Medicare costs. They also don't touch on the point that the US is made to cover the "development costs" for these new drugs and procedures because govts like Australia limits prices, so the difference is allowed to be pushed to consumers in the US…. There are just Soooo many issues that cause the cost to be so high in the US, and I know I've just scratched the surface here.

  39. So I had my daughter here in Australia- I paid nothing.
    My brother in the USA paid 20k.
    I’d MUCH rather pay higher taxes and never have to worry about medical and high pharmaceutical cost.
    I’ve never gotten the supplemental insurance as I don’t agree with weakening the system.

  40. Being Australian myself, I'd say that our healthcare system works very well. I once went into a hospital with what I thought was back pain, the triage nurse noticed that it could be something more serious and a doctor was inspecting me within 5mins. Another 5-10mins later I had gotten X-rays that showed that I had a spontaneous collapsed lung. They put me under to relieve the pressure shortly after. I stayed in hospital for several days until I was given the all clear. The only thing that I had to pay for was the subsidised post op medication that I bought outside of the hospital

  41. Recently there was a backlog for patients awaiting operations public hospitals, it was cleared by getting the operations done in private hospitals.

  42. The United States could also have a universal healthcare system if we cut the military spending by 90% but politicians here won't do that because it threatens their ability to project power into the world.

  43. Switzerland healthcare vs American healthcare

    Difference, Swiss love there people- don’t go to war, let companies compete , people respect the idea that government does so much for them they don’t miss use it

  44. "I don't think it really plays out" No. You are left to die in Australian hospitals without private health insurance. Crappy video CNBC.

  45. Australia doesn't have illegal/undocumented immigration issues. What about there health benefits? Come on America didn't we see what happened to health plan cost when OBAMA care went into effect.

  46. How Medicare for all works in a nation with less people than the US state of California but with the land mass and wealth of the entire nation of the US.

  47. fact of the matter is, we can't fix healthcare until we fix what makes us sick in the first place, drinking water, chemicals in our food that gets us addicted so we consume more, harmful pesticides needs outlawed, all of these factors is why healthcare is so high to begin with

  48. Australian here. I can attest to the beauty of Medicare.

    Before Medicare was introduced in 1983, Australia had a similar system to the US. Many Australians were forced into bankruptcy by a simple visit to the hospital. You still have private health insurance in Australia, however, the system has run into some problems

  49. Medicaid doesn't work very well because many doctors won't take it in favor of private insurance. That's why Medicare for All is the answer: as the only payer, either the doctor is in, or they are out of business. The network will be every doctor.
    And I'm a doctor; we already make too much.

  50. US should learn from Malaysia public healthcare system. With RM1 (USD 30cents), patient can get free consultation, medicine, blood test, urine and request for specialist if needed. no limit and restrictions.

    for x-ray and specialist treatment (cardiac, diabetes etc), public only required to pay RM5 (Usd1.50) for consultation and medicine.

    public maternity clinic also great. maternity nurse will do a home visit, for free. she will do suprise visit to ensure the house environment is suitable for pregnant women (inc no smoking, hygiene care etc)

    how Malaysia can do it? public medical university will extensively doing research for better generic medicine that can locally produce in mass scale by state owned pharmaceutical company.

    From here, govt saving from imported cost, and increase revenue by exporting it to less develop country in Asian region.

    No reason Malaysia become Asian top medical tourism destination – first class treatment with min cost is guarantee.

    no wonder medical insurance company struggling do business in Malaysia..

  51. Could you use absolute (starting from 0) scales on your graphs? For exemple at 1:03 the chart is wildly misleading unless checking the bottom scale

  52. The Irish system, whilst somewhat underfunded, is probably one of the best in the world. If you’re sick, the public system takes care of you, but if you’re not in need of treatment they can make you wait. This makes sense in my opinion because nobody is entitled to on the spot treatment especially if you don’t need it. On the other hand if you don’t want to wait you can go private. It’s simple and is completely better then the American system.

  53. As an Australian, I think we get a lot of things wrong in Australia, like recycling and telecommunications infrastructure for example. But we get a lot right too, like health care, womens rights, great education opportunities and having 3 cities in the list of top 10 most livable cities in the world (Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney). I once cut my foot badly on glass and needed to go to hospital for stitches, I had my foot and ankle stitched back up at and was given pain killers for the low cost of $0.00 at the emergency room and I don't have private insurance. Our health care system is based off the Canadian heathcare system and we have a large amount of pharmaceuticals available at a government subsidised price (the PBS scheme). Some people choose to have private insurance also however many don't due to the high cost and it is unusual for your employer here to provide private healthcare. Yes Australia's system isn't perfect, but I think USA could look at the health care systems of many countries to help create a fantastic system that might even cost the US government even less than it does now. It would take enormous system reform to get there but I think USA could one day lead the way with healthcare

  54. Another point to mention is that the ambulance service in each state of Australia is publicly funded and as long as you are a Australian citizen who has a Medicare card (everyone), emergency ambulance transports are free. This is also true for air ambulance transports via helicopter and plane. Whilst the system does have problems for people with perhaps non life threatening problems such as wisdom teeth removal, if you are sick or dying you will be treated and you will not be charged. Private cover is purely to shorten wait times, get more choice of doctor, and to pay for non Medicare treatments .. again using wisdom teeth removal as it is something that happened to me.

  55. Australia has a 10% sales tax at the national level, so good luck trying to sell that idea to Americans who think they can get free healthcare without paying the taxes other nations use to finance their systems.

  56. You either need very competitive customer-focused markets or consumer-focused regulation. Australia has the latter, the USA wishes they had the former, but continues to fail to deliver cost effective healthcare.

  57. 33 countries around the world have universal healthcare similar to Aus and New Zealand and 2 to 5 weeks payed vacation for everyone. usa not number 1.. met a guy from Australia he crashed his Harley really got busted up bad after a lady cut him off on a highway in Texas. His bill was $37000 dollars and that's including the ambulance drop him off to the wrong Hospital with his health insurer. what a fiasco the usa system is.

  58. You stupid CNBC people, first realize the huge difference in population between 🇦🇺 and the 🇺🇸 before making videos like these.

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