Whilst this is not an issue directly connected to the primary aims of addressing climate change in a world of neoliberal governments, this does bear a strong mention. The health of a nation contributes directly to its overall prosperity, so providing a freely accessible system to all citizens is in the best interests of any country. The Medicare system in Australia has been under attack from the neoliberal federal and state conservative governments since 1996. This has taken many forms, but the most insidious is the redirection of government money to pay the private health insurance industry to do work better performed by the government.
The primary reason given for the introduction of this system was to reduce the load on public hospitals by redistributing patients to the private system. This has proven to be a completely unsubstantiated misleading of the population as this reduction has never occurred. What it actually provided was taxpayer funding for wealthier members of society to jump the queue to receive surgery earlier than funding of the public system would provide. This now amounts to over $5 billion a year in welfare for the rich who simply don’t need it. Even factoring in the increased costs in the public system as a result of people cancelling their private health insurance, studies from 2013 show there would be a net increase of around $3 billion available to spend on the health system. Redirecting this amount to reducing queue times would have a substantially greater effect on the national health system. There is still demand for private health care and this should continue; it just doesn’t require taxpayer’s money to do so.